To Have a Heart Short Film Review

★★★★

Written & Directed by: #SimoneQuinn


Short Film Review by: #ChrisBuick

Syd, an older gentleman who has been waiting desperately for a new heart, finally receives the call with the news he has been waiting for. However, when what some might call chance and what others might call fate decides to step in, things are set dramatically off course.


If one were feeling reductive, animated Australian #shortfilm To Have a Heart could simply be described as one man’s quest for a new heart. But such a description doesn’t really seem to do justice to a film that manages to not only tell a complete and concise story in such a short space of time, but also somehow makes room for a wealth of emotion and complexity that such a basic synopsis simply does not convey. 


In actuality, while Syd’s hopeful quest might in fact be the core which To Have a Heart is built around, where filmmaker Simone Quinn takes us is much deeper, sensitively touching upon themes such as gratitude, survivors' guilt and living life to the fullest. For a debut, it’s a tremendously executed short, not just in the story it tells but how it tells it. There is nary a facet of human emotion not explored, Quinn’s got them all covered; fear, hope, despair, joy and grief, all accentuating the highs and lows of this very focused, well-paced and impassioned piece.


And it’s a passion that Quinn clearly looks to breathe into every aspect of her filmmaking. A sound expert by trade, Quinn clearly knows not just how to make the simplest score evoke big emotions, but how each note can fully emphasise the sentiment of the moment in a much more meaningful way than words ever could, the film therefore only needing to draw on its sparse spoken exposition when absolutely necessary. Finally, the quality of the animation might not be the cleanest or the most sophisticated one has witnessed, but it’s tremendously creative usage more than makes up for all that and is perfectly fit for purpose for what is actually important, which is telling this beautifully heartfelt story as effectively as it should be.

The successes of To Have a Heart (and there are many) can all be traced back to the very hands-on powerhouse filmmaker that is Simone Quinn. Clearly confident in steering a project from all sides (writing, producing, composing, editing, animating...the list goes on), Quinn has proven that with time there can surely only be good things to come after this impressive debut.

#ChrisBuick