This new animated short from Pixar animators Lou Hamou-Lhadj and Andrew Coats is not for the faint of heart — or for children. Quorum Films' short Borrowed Time, which was created through a co-op program at *Pixar but which Hamou-Lhadj, Coats, and other artists voluntarily worked on in their spare time, is chilling, heartbreaking, and will likely require at least one Kleenex to wipe your eyes upon viewing. You have been warned. Feature-length animated films like Inside Out and WALL-E touch upon tough stuff, but these movies aren't quite as grounded in the real world as Borrowed Time is — or as tragic. In this short film, a man returns to the scene of a horrific accident in which he became an accidental instrument in his father's death. As the memories of that terrible day haunt him, the man must make a decision: does he go on and live with his grief and guilt, or does he end his suffering permanently?
That very adult question was something that the filmmakers set out to explore: “We really wanted to make something that was a little bit more adult in the thematic choices, and show that animation could be a medium to tell any sort of story,” says animator Hamou-Lhadj in a featurette about the new short. Hamou-Lhadj and Coats certainly achieved that goal: after witnessing Borrowed Time, it's hard to argue that animated dramas don't hold the same emotional weight as live-action ones. The new film has certainly affected many fans:
It's easy to write off animated movies as kid stuff, but Borrowed Time proves that even the saddest, most adult stories can be told effectively through this medium if the stories are in the hands of talented filmmakers.
*A previous version of this story reported that Borrowed Time is a Pixar film; it was made by Pixar animators but is not a Pixar production.