Short reflections on Disney Shorts: Paperman

What do you get when you have a missed opportunity then add hundreds of paper airplanes and a little Disney magic?  The answer is, of course, ‘Paperman’.  This Academy award winning short is a classic “meet cute” that blends traditional animation styles and CGI.  Add to that the choice of producing an animated short in black and white and this offering makes the leap from entertainment to art.  It is a beautiful piece that doesn’t even need dialog to tell its story.

The ‘Paperman’ is actually named George and has some job that involves piles of paper.  One day on the way to work he meets a young woman when one of his papers hits her face.  They go their separate ways, both a little disappointed.  George discovers Meg in the building across from him later and tries to get her attention by throwing paper airplanes.  My very practical soul wonders how he can keep throwing all those pieces of his workload out of the window.  Doesn’t somebody need those forms?  The magic happens when the one piece of paper with Meg’s lipstick on it joins the attempt. George and Meg meet.  The connection is made and happily ever after is possible.

Who knows how many opportunities have passed us by?  Connections not made.  People not met.  Paper airplanes that have soared past unnoticed.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all get a second chance when we miss an opportunity?  Or maybe not.  Maybe it is better that we not second guess ourselves.  Not everyone we pass on a train is destined to be our soul mate.  Not every opportunity is the right opportunity.  Who knows?

At its heart ‘Paperman’ is not something that needs deep contemplation.  It is sweet and funny.  It is innovative and well crafted.  It makes me smile.  Sometimes that’s all we need.


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