| 03.19.2018

A little courage and heart goes a long way — A review of a classic love story with a spin



“In a Heartbeat” is a short film by Ringling College of Art and Design that puts a new spin on a classic love story.

One person, who we will call Red because of his hair, is madly in love with another, now called Quaff, who doesn’t have any idea they exist.

Right off the bat, the animation is beautiful. Full of vibrant colors and unique characters, the style harkens to newer Pixar and Disney films like “Ratatouille.”

I specifically love the attention to detail with the characters’ expressions. 

The film has no dialogue, which makes movement and expressions much more important to the story.

Each minute eye movement or the way they walk speaks volumes about our protagonists.

Having no dialogue makes the decision to anthropomorphize Red’s heart that much more impactful.

Not only does his heart’s reckless need to be near Quaff show Red’s true emotions, but it also shows an underlying struggle we all have.

A struggle between our heart and brain.

Too often in love, work and friendships we let our brain rule when our heart should get equal say.

Red’s fear of rejection battles against his overwhelming feelings for Quaff.

Rejection of gay love by their peers splits them apart, as seen in the hallway scene.

Ultimately, Quaff overcomes his trepidation about being rejected by his peers and seeks out Red to put back together his heart.

Another aspect that felt impactful was the score.

Whether it be a swelling crescendo to signify Red’s blooming feelings or somber piano notes after his heart literally breaks, the timing and choice of instruments adds depth to the characters emotions.

The music doesn’t fight for presence in the film but rather blends with the animation to create living, breathing characters.

“In a Heartbeat” lived up to its name and genre, running for a quick four minutes.

Four minutes or even four hours, the runtime wouldn’t have been enough. It would be easy to get lost in this beautiful world and see our characters develop their feelings.

I liked the breath of fresh air that the pairing between Red and Quaff brought.

While we are trending toward a society that is comfortable with homosexual relationships in media, there is still a long way to go.

To see the depiction of high school aged boys accepting their feelings spreads the message that these feelings are OK and should be accepted.

It’s a message that needs spreading.

The romanticizing of the relationship does well to show their feelings in a happy light.

“In a Heartbeat” is a short but sweet story of love, both lost and found.

The anxiety that comes from expressing their feelings and the joy when they are requited is all seen, heard and felt in these four minutes.

While I would have liked for the film to be longer and perhaps show more of Quaff’s feelings, I would still highly recommend watching it.

For its impactful score, beautiful animation and attention to detail, I give “In a Heartbeat” four beats out of five.

Griffen Winget can be reached atarg-arts@uidaho.edu

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