The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse is based on the book of the same name by Charlie Mackesy a British born artist, illustrator and author. Here, it’s adapted for TV by writer Jon Croker (“Paddington 2”, “American Animals”) and director Peter Baynton (“The Lion”, “Save Our Bacon (Short)”).
Brought to TV in a form not that dissimilar to Mackesy’s original line-drawing illustration, we join The Boy, Jude Coward Nicoll (“The Lost Sock (Short)”, “Tom & Jerry: The Movie”), wandering through a snowy field.
He comes to a stop when a mole appears from under the snow, voiced by Tom Hollander (“The White Lotus (TV)”, “Bohemian Rhapsody”). Mole says hello and is then immediately off as he thinks he’s seen cake, but it turns out to be a large tree.
The Boy says he’s lost and the Mole says if they can find a river, they can follow it. So they search for, and find, a river, though they also find a Fox, Idris Elba (“The Suicide Squad”, “Thor: Love And Thunder”), who is at first angry, but mellows after the cake obsessed Mole frees him from a trap.
This unlikely trio begin following the river to find the Boy a home and, along the way, discuss what a home is as well as other feelings. These conversations are cut short when they next stumble across a large, white horse, Gabriel Byrne (“Lamborghini”, “Mad To Be Normal”).
The horse decides to go with them on their search for a home, after some fun and frolicking in the snow, and the Boy spots some lights in the distance which he thinks may be a home, so they head for that.
The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse is a sweet, short, animated movie, to be released just in time for the festive season on both AppleTV+ and the BBC. The animation may remind you of that other Christmas staple, The Snowman, though there’s definitely no singing in this.
Instead, it’s a slow meander as our trio of talking animals, plus boy, walk along talking about feelings and loving each other and being the best you. In all honesty, a lot of the time, the short can feel a little like a therapy session and how you feel about that will be very personal.
I loved the animation and I got the sentiment, I did, I understood what it was trying to say, but I’m old and cynical so it was kind of lost on me and I thought the whole thing might turn out like Life Of Pi, but it didn’t.
A beautiful looking movie that I feel some will love and others will roll their eyes at. It’s a sad one for Christmas and perhaps what we really need is something a bit more, I don’t know, jolly, at this time of year?
25th December 2022
THE QUICK SELL
Follows a boy, a mole, a fox and a horse, as they create an unexpected friendship and travel together in the boy's search for home.