Far From The Tree


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Far From The Tree
"Drawn in a beautiful style that recalls older Disney hand-drawings." | Photo: Disney

In most languages the word for raccoon is derived from its behaviour. In English we have, through various spellings (raugroughcum and arathkone being personal favourites) adopted it from the Powhatan. 'animal that scratches with its hands', in Latin 'before-dog washer', in French 'little wash-rat'. It's an iconic behaviour, and in this touching tale of the creature sometimes known as the trash-panda one we see a few times.

Screening with Encanto, as is now a Disney tradition, there's a good chance that Far From The Tree will be the first short film someone will see. Possibly the first film someone will see in the cinema. Which is no bad thing, because it's an absolute delight.

Natalie Nourigat writes, directs. She is on that arc for young animators, animation department work here, short there, autobiographical comic, small changes creating motion. Those motions creating emotion, and beautifully so. From the Disney logo drawn in sand to the sound of the sea in a shell, there are small details that tell.

It does get a bit scary. There's a reason that parental raccoons don't want little raccoons to wander, and while little raccoons get bigger they don't necessarily forget. There's a lesson in here that Aesop would probably approve of, had he had these masked manipulators in his menagerie of morality.

The pairing with Encanto is a good one, there are similar intergenerational frictions and resolutions that are as satisfying. Drawn in a beautiful style that recalls older Disney hand-drawings, the distinctiveness of raccoon racing-stripes and the (perhaps painted) backgrounds are glorious. Character design is not easy, but in set and stance and scar and glance Far From The Tree is as polished as any apple, and as satisfying in its sweetness.

Reviewed on: 27 Nov 2021
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Far From The Tree packshot
Curiosity gets the better of a young raccoon whose frustrated parent attempts to keep them both safe.

Director: Natalie Nourigat

Writer: Natalie Nourigat

Year: 2021

Runtime: 7 minutes

Country: US


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