To celebrate Pride Month, Pixar has made its animated short film Out, previously streaming only on Disney+, available to watch online for free. Written and directed by Steven Clay Hunter (known for animating scenes on Finding Nemo and WALL-E), Out tells the story of a character named Greg as he struggles to tell his family about his boyfriend Miguel as he’s in the process of moving. With a little cosmic interference from man’s best friend, Greg eventually gathers up the strength to come out.
If you don’t have a Disney Plus subscription, don’t worry. You can stream the entire short right now. What was once streaming on Disney+ now has a handy YouTube embed.
The short was produced by Max Sachar (Coco, Toy Story 3) and marks Pixar’s first attempt to feature an openly gay character in a central role. The plot features a man named Greg (voiced by Kyle McDaniel) who is in the process of moving. As his parents show up to help, Greg frantically tries to hide any evidence of his relationship with boyfriend Manuel (voiced by Caleb Cabrera). However, an intervention from colorful fairy god pets (just roll with it) causes Greg to switch bodies with his dog, Jim. As he navigates his fear in his new canine body, he realizes there’s nothing to be scared of after all.
Pixar’s animation style is different in this short and is similar to more of a watercolor technique or colored pencil aesthetic, like what you would see in a children’s book. In a behind-the-scenes YouTube video, the animators and Hunter discuss the desire to have room for mistakes and “feel the history of the hand finding its way with the tears and imperfections along the way.” I love the idea behind this concept because like coming out, it can be messy and imperfect. It’s a scary situation that does not always go according to plan. The animators embrace that and also create a visual landscape that appeals to audiences of all ages.
Long Strides in a Short Film
While there have been LGTBQ characters in other animated films like Onward and Laika’s ParaNorman, Out sets itself apart by having a gay character in the central role. Also, the main character is struggling to come out to his parents even as an adult, which validates the challenge even later on in one’s life. There is even a same-sex on-screen kiss! Manuel is also displayed as a supportive partner, which is so refreshing to see. The more healthy and supportive relationships that kids (and let’s face it, adults) can experience, the better. As a byproduct of the original Disney movies that featured a mermaid giving up her voice for a guy and a girl falling in love with a literal beast who keeps her hostage, I can safely say this short film is a huge step in the right direction. There is so much to praise about this short and I really can’t recommend it enough.
Happy Pride, y’all, and remember love is love.
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