"Animal Behaviour" is about animals attending a group therapy session. // Courtesy of the NFB

Review: David Fine and Alison Snowden’s Animal Behaviour

Animal Behaviour
Directed by David Fine and Alison Snowden; Available at nfb.ca; Until Sun., Feb. 24; Or watch at Metro Cinema with Mirai; Tue., Feb. 19 and Fri., Feb. 22; 14 min.
Our Score
4.5

Have you ever been watching the Oscars when the nominees for best animated short are announced and wondered “Why have I only seen the ones by Pixar? Where do I find these other fab looking films?” Well, for a limited time, the National Film Board (NFB) is making sure you get to have a peek at David Fine and Alison Snowden’s Oscar-nominated short Animal Behaviour.

The film features a strange cast of animal characters as they attend group therapy, led by Dr. Leonard Clement (Ryan Bell)—a dog. Each of them have their normal animal characteristics recast as phobias, addictions, or other unhealthy behaviours, which Dr. Clement attempts to help them address. Things get a little tense when new arrival Victor (Taz Van Rassel)—a gorilla—resists opening up about his feelings.

The short goes to some weird, dark places, but offers a lot of humour. The bickering between Lorrain (Leah Juel)—a leech—and Cheryl (Andrea Libman)—a praying mantis—over whose relationships are more dysfunctional is particularly fun. As the session descends into chaos, there’s a genuinely shocking moment, carried home by the final one-liner that neatly closes the film.

Fine and Snowden are not only the directors of Animal Behaviour, but also the writers and animators, and their humour, story telling, and animation style all blend perfectly to create a short, but sweet film.

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