After winning the Best Animated Short Film award at the 95th Academy Awards just a couple weekends ago, I finally found some time to check out this critically acclaimed animated short film, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse. Just 34 minutes long, this short film is a great way to enjoy to a quick story that is filled with so much sincerity and heart. Based on the novel of the same name written by Charlie Mackesy, this short film features the voices of Jude Coward Nicoll, Gabriel Byrne, Idris Elba, and Tom Hollander. While the cast did well in their roles, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse is definitely one that is carried by the weight of its story rather than the performances of the actors.

The Boy meeting the Horse in The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse

Knowing absolutely nothing about the plot of the story, I eagerly headed in as I anticipated what kind of Oscar winning adventure the film would take me on. But before the journey even began (heck, before any character even showed up on screen), the first thing that immediately caught my attention was just how stunning and beautiful the animation was. I really really loved the artistic look and feel of the animation that seemed as if it had jumped right out of a painting. They didn’t go a cartoonish route or hyper realistic route which, in my opinion, worked in their favour as the hand painted look of the art gave the film a surprisingly intimate and personal feel. You know the animation of a film is done well when the art is somehow able to compliment and add a deeper layer to the story.

The Boy riding the Horse and seeing how fast he can go

But the story itself is definitely the highlight of the The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse. While at first it might seem like a simple, Disney-esque story about a little boy lost in the woods who befriends animals that help him find his way home, the film slowly reveals itself to be much more complex, thoughtful, and sentimental. You’ll soon realize that every line of dialogue holds significance and is carefully written to teach you an important message. And what’s that message? Well, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse is a beautiful story about learning to love yourself, to love others, and to always choose kindness. No, I didn’t cry for this one, but it certainly made me emotional and made me reflect on these values being expressed.

I’ve always had a soft spot for sweet stories like this that help to remind me of important values that become more and more forgotten as we grow older. And with such a gentle and soft tone to the short film, watching this almost felt like a friend reminding you to remember these valuable lessons and morals. It was such a relaxing yet powerful watch, and I really think this is one that can be enjoyed by all ages because there’s something different to take away for everyone.

The Boy saying goodbye to the Mole

I didn’t want to give away too much in this review because I think it’s worth experiencing yourself if you’ve yet to see The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse. All I really can say is that this short film is beautifully made and so deserving of its recognition at the Academy Awards. I fell in love with each character because of their honesty and openness, but also because of their wisdom and words of advice that they impart. Thoroughly appreciating the morals being taught in this short film, I’m giving The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse a 9/10. It will take you little to no time at all to finish this short film so I highly recommend you check this one out (you can find this film on AppleTV+!)