The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Winner of the 2012 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg’s The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore tells the story of a young man whisked away (along with the rest of his town) by a great wind. In a desolate, gray landscape he is lead to a library full of living, flying books and becomes its caretaker, all the while writing a book of his own.

Beautifully told without words, the Lessmore has both the look and mannerisms of a Keaton-esque silent film star. The books, too, are imbued with a fantastic sense of life, despite their limited ability to emote. Lessmore’s main, Humpty Dumpty-like companion is especially well done, the flipping of illustrated pages allowing it to portray more complex emotions. Along with an understated score, it’s a lovely, sweet story. I had meant to watch this before the Oscars, and seeing it now, I find it most deserving of its honors.

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