Pixar’s Self (2024) Movie Review – A short but valuable tale about being true to yourself

A short but valuable tale about being true to yourself

Self is the latest film in Pixar’s SparkShorts animated short film series and is worth a watch for the beautiful mix of traditional stop-motion animation and dazzling CGI. 

But the visuals aren’t the main reason to give this 7-minute short a go. While they’re undoubtedly a feast for the eyes, the real reason for watching this is to benefit from the lesson that is told within the abbreviated story. 

Self tells the tale of a wooden doll who finds herself in a world populated by golden mannequin-type beings who pretty much look the same as one another. The wooden doll tries to communicate with the glittering folk around her but for some reason, they completely ignore her. 

Why is the doll ignored? It’s possibly due to the way she looks, as she is markedly different from the shiny folk that populate her town. It might also be because of the thud she makes when she taps her chest, which is a different sound from that made by the melodious others in her society.

It’s easy to feel sad for the doll as many of us have experienced loneliness when not fitting in with the people around us. Many of us have also taken steps to be like others, at the expense of who we really are. This is something the downhearted wooden doll does when she loses her hand and replaces it with a golden limb. She then goes on to replace the rest of her body with golden parts until she is almost unrecognizable from who she was before.

We won’t delve further into plot specifics as her story is one you should experience for yourself. And while watching the film, you might want to consider its core message about being true to oneself. Have you changed aspects of yourself to fit in with people at work, at home, or in your other social circles? Have you forgotten who you once were because you have tried so hard to be somebody that you aren’t wired up to be? These are questions that most of us should consider, especially if we have bent ourselves out of shape, physically and characteristically, to fit into what we think society expects of us. 

The Pixar SparkShorts program gives new filmmakers a chance to shine and with Self, that is certainly the case for its director, Searit Huluf. She’s not completely new to filmmaking as she has worked in several roles at Pixar, contributing to such films as Soul and Turning Red. But on the evidence of her work on the visually impressive Self, which manages to tell a strong message in a very short running time, we think she is destined for even greater things in the future.

Here’s hoping Huluf continues to tell inventive stories with her own voice and imagination, without feeling the need to fit into the typical Hollywood mould of directors who make films for monetary benefits rather than creative satisfaction.

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  • Verdict - 7.5/10

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