Paperman

2012, Walt Disney Animation Studios

Above all other animated films of any length, Paperman stands as my very favorite. Combining a totally unique visual style with a heartwarming romantic story, it hits all of right buttons in a mere six and a half minutes. The setting, both geographic and temporal (New York City in the 40s), could not be more ideal for a romance. But its most captivating aspect is the groundbreaking animation: the loose, (mostly) monochromatic 2D sketch effect is both stunningly original and utterly perfect for the story.

Not that I put much store in critics' opinions, it's perhaps worth noting that Jeff Shannon, writing for Roger Ebert, considered it "brilliant from start to finish," and Leonard Maltin declared it "perfection itself." It also won an Academy award for best animated short. I can't count how many times I've seen it—more than likely over a hundred by now—and I've even watched the whole thing one frame at a time. No other film gets me choked up by merely thinking about it.

       

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