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A Reaction Paper about the Short Film: PAPERMAN

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(1) John Kahrs, the director of the film, made a seven (7) minutes long animation with a minimalist black-and-white style and named it Paperman. According to, this is an animated short film about a lonely young man in mid-century New York City who relies on his heart, imagination, a stack of papers-and a little luck-to change his destiny and win the girl of his dreams.

(2) Due to the limited time of the short film, it is very hard to manifest emotions. But the men behind this animation knew exactly what to do in order to give the audiences so much feelings, that they would allow themselves to feel whatever feelings they experience towards the film.

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(3) The story is about a lad who accidentally found the girl of his dreams by chance. It just happened that they encountered each other by fate at a local train station. While he was awkwardly staring at her, obviously doesn’t know what he should do, it happens that the wind blew and one of his papers blew into the girl’s face. From there, he saw that the girl had a kiss mark on his paper.

(4) But because the girl had to leave, she catches her train leaving the gentleman behind, with a small hope that maybe one day they’ll see each other again. Within the first minute and a half, already builds up a lot of emotion. The introduction already expressed cowardice, amusement, and regret in a short duration of time. On the later part of the story, it will show strong desires, frustration, discontent and delight.

(5) The chronology of emotions is just an introduction. The background and characters look like drawings but they also look 3D as well which creates a surreal but nostalgic feel of the story. Plus, to make the film feel even more retro, the crew decided to keep the film black and white except for the female’s ruby red lipstick that’s planted on the man’s office paper. This allows the audience to focus more on what connects these two characters together.

(6) Also, the way the characters are constructed, physically, may be slightly disproportionate to the normal human being but they perfectly fit for the animation. Even though the gentleman is ungracefully thin and tall, but that creates the sense that he’s like any other average Joe. The one thing that stood out the most on the girl were her eyes. This may be one of the reasons why the guy had to take a second glance at the girl.

(7) Finally, the music is partially what facilitates the emotions that are being evoked throughout the film and it really works.

(8) In my conclusion, the short film creates a false sense of life. Unfortunately, not every person’s life is like this, where they meet the person of their dreams so suddenly. The film made me wish that life was like that for everyone, because these kinds of occurrences hardly ever happen.

(9) It looks and feels like an elaborate daydream, and even features a story not unlike the wish- fulfilment fantasies that compose our most wonderful daydreams. Like our wish-fulfilment fantasy though, it is pretty simple and cheesy, but that’s perhaps the very point of this short (and I can appreciate that).


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