Film Review: MAN’S BEST FRIEND (UK) Family

Played at the December 2016 Best of Family/Animation FEEDBACK Film Festival.

  MOVIE POSTERMAN’S BEST FRIEND, 7min. UK, Family/Animation
Directed by Rob Sprackling

10 year old Zach loves his football – and his football loves him back. They enjoy playing in the garden, going to the park and spending time together, just like a boy with a faithful dog. But when his ball gets lost, Zach must team up with his neglected Mum, to find his best friend. In doing so, Zach and his Mum re-find each other.

REVIEW by Kierston Drier: 

Man’s Best Friend, written and produced by Rob Sprackling, is a classic story of companionship with an unusual twist. Hovering somewhere between My Dog Skip and Toy Story, Man’s Best Friend takes a look at the relationship children develop with the objects in their life that carry significant weight. In this case, a soccer ball.

Our young hero has a steadfast and deep connect with his soccer ball, which has been cleverly anthropomorphized with the simple addition of an animated smile. A clear metaphor for a boy with a pet, the two characters are inseparable and find deep joy in each other’s company. But while out one night the ball is kicked into neighbors yard by bullies, and our hero cannot find their friend. He and his mother attempt to locate the ball, and even consider getting a new one, but no dice- this ball cannot be replaced.

Beside the clever metaphor for the ball being a pet, what makes this film unique is its’ utter simplicity. The film has no dialogue and functions with only one beautiful piano song throughout. The acting, directing and cinematography are all to be commended. The animation is simple but incredibly effective and the whole movie is wrapped up in a family-friendly feel-good bow. Yet there is also deeper meaning lurking in this piece. On the surface it is a boy and his friend, but it is also a story about a boy and himself. It is a story about what happens when we lose a part of ourselves. Unlike a dog, that is dependant on their owner, this boy has lost the passion of his life- his ability to play soccer via the ball. And unlike a dog, which may need to be returned by another person, this ball returns to his master all by itself. Or, rather, our Hero reconnects with his passion, on his own terms. A simply story with some profound undertones, Man’s Best Friend it a true delight.

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