Why Watch? This is a fantastic short film, and the good news is that it’s only the start of a promising series of documentaries pinging off the New York Times column “Modern Love.” Equally parts heart-warming and -wrenching, every personal tale provides another signal that partnership comes in about a billion different varieties. Beyond Years is no different.
In it, a man in his 40s and a woman in her 20s describe their relationship and the event that could have torn them apart.
It’s accompanied by an animation style that uses minimalism, a hint of Escher and several gorgeously constructed visual metaphors to enhance each new sentence and situation. Animator Freddy Arenas does wonders with suggestive shapes and a limited palette — a segment using two trees is particularly striking, offering a sorrowful euphemism that holds hands with the narration instead of bludgeoning it with redundancy.
As with most minimalism, there’s an everyman quality to it, open spaces where we can easily place ourselves. Even if we haven’t experienced the exact same shoes that these two find themselves in, the core emotions are all there (as well as the core fears), and Arenas’ style complements a story that politely asks for empathy.
What Will It Cost?