“What do I do?”
It’s been a dark year for animated films—dark with a subtle slice of hope for the future. My Life as a Zucchini leads the way on that front, but Borrowed Time is hardly an exception. Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj‘s stylized computer-animated short focuses on an aged Sheriff yet to forgive himself for an accident he was involved with years before as a boy. Everything that’s happened since hasn’t shaken the guilt, a life as a lawman upholding justice and order unable to even the scales. This is why he finds himself at that fateful scene again, the remnants still lying in the sand to preserve its tragedy. Every step forward brings another acute vision of the day his life changed forever.
Everything’s led to this moment. His career was dictated by what happened, but it wasn’t enough. His soul never recovered and after decades of trying he’s reached his breaking point. This is therefore the day he lets the cliff he survived win. This is the day he quiets the screams of agony he most certainly let out in the hours and years after it all went down. We flicker back and forth from past to present, the realization of what occurred growing clearer and yet never seeming to be as violent as it ultimately proves. What was a journey that brought needed joy and love quickly devolved into a fight for his life and it simply wasn’t possible to earn a happy ending.
But that doesn’t mean the filmmakers have sentenced this weathered sheriff to the same fate. No matter our despair or isolation, there’s also an opportunity to find a glimmer of positivity. Fate has a way of supplying us a sign—whether you call it coincidence or divine intervention. We all reach our cliff’s edge with two choices: to move along or lose ourselves forever. The profundity of how we reach our decision can be years in the making or hinge on the briefest second of light reflecting off a surface in the distance. No matter how bad an accident, intent is only truly ever questioned by those who live through it. What happened here wasn’t anyone’s fault, but asking forgiveness of oneself is never easy regardless.