In life, we all want to be treated equally. It’s simple — we’re all people, we all get frustrated, we all get scared, and we all love. Everyone is different, and sometimes love is hard, or different, or outside of the perceived “norm.” Acceptance is something that we should all embrace — remember love is love and Pixar’s seventh SparkShort, OUT is full of love, equality, bravery, humor, and a little bit of magic.
Written and directed by Steven Clay Hunter, OUT premiered today (May 22) on Disney+. Based on a true story from the director’s own life, we follow the main character Greg and his rambunctious little dog, Jim (based on Hunter’s real-life pet) who clutches a dog toy in the form of Wheezy (so cute!).
As Greg and his boyfriend Manuel are packing to move to the big city, the duo stumbles upon a framed photo of themselves in a loving embrace. Manuel proceeds to ask Greg if the frame will be set out in their new place (rather than hidden in the sock drawer), which leaves Greg to share his secret. Greg still hasn’t told his parents about their relationship and that Manuel is a man — cut to a surprise visit from Greg’s parents!
As Greg hurries Manuel out of the house, Manuel states “tell them” and proceeds to walk out the patio door. What happens next is part magical as well as complete love and acceptance — although it was hidden at first. If you thought Pixar’s emotional pull couldn’t get any stronger, think again. OUT delivered that burning feeling you get in the back of your throat right before tears fill your eyes. Greg’s mom delivers a line in solitude that made our hearts soar, “I just hope that whoever it is…that…well, that ‘he’ makes you happy.”
She knew the whole time?! Greg’s secret wasn’t a secret at all?
ART STYLE & REPRESENTATION
What we continue to love about the SparkShort program is that each filmmaker not only has their own individual approach to their story but the artistic styling is always so unique between films. OUT gave us storybook feels, with the world being warm, soothing color tones — however, as soon as Greg’s parents arrive, the world inside the house shifts to a colder tone. We loved that once Greg realizes his parents have always known and accepted him for who he is, the world becomes warm and vibrant again.
The SparkShorts program is no stranger when it comes to showcasing real-life scenarios and representation. We commend the entire OUT crew for showcasing a story that rings true to so many within the LGBTQ+ community, especially the loving embrace and kiss between both Greg and Manuel. Representation matters and we have been flooded with messages since sharing news of this short with our readers. One reader even shared, “I feel so happy and represented right now!”
The music for the short was composed by nonother than Jake Monaco. Jake has been working with Pixar on several of the latest Disney+ related shorts and shows (Forky Asks a Question and Lamp Life).
We loved the composition and musical choices Jake made throughout — as well as the moments without music (more on that in a minute). Much like the color tones we mentioned earlier, the tranquility of the opening music is shifted to more of an excited and heart-racing tone when Greg’s parents arrive.
We loved that Jake used tubes (a la Blue Man Group PVC-style tubes) and the recorded-sound of hands slapping legs, and an ever-increasing drum intensity to convey the panic as Jim (well, really Greg) tries to continue to hide his secret. Take a close listen and see what else you can hear.
One of our favorite moments is when Greg’s Mom is sitting by herself outside by the moving truck and the lack of music. It feels like a real moment after a fight when the world goes quiet and a real moment of truth comes out — and it does in the film. Wow. The silence says it all but the music comes back in seamlessly to the energy and excitement again!
We would love to continue to hear your thoughts on this latest SparkShort. Leave a comment below or share your thoughts with other Pixar fans in the Pixar Post Forum OUT thread.
Pixar Post — Julie & T.J.