The latest Pixar short from longtime animator, first-time writer/director Dave Mullins is quite the deceiving little gem. LOU—a play on the missing letters from an aging school playground’s “Lost and fOUnd” box—starts out as an irreverent yarn wherein a baseball-eyed “creature” made up of discarded items with a hoodie for a body watches the children as they play before running out to collect abandoned toys when recess is over. We laugh at the fantastical situation, at this character that could easily turn into something of nightmares if not handled in the way it is onscreen. But this is just our introduction to the film’s contained environment. Soon we discover “LOU” as more than a lark. He’s really a keenly drawn educator on the issues of bullying.
That’s not to say there isn’t also a lesson in responsibility for property either. How many times have you left something out and lost it? Heck, I still forget where I leave my phone and glasses. “LOU” picks up after the children to not only ensure he is available to watch everything until they can be re-collected, but also to keep everything in one place for all to enjoy. He gets the kids’ attention upon their return with quizzical looks as far as where the toys they had have gone. A stranger didn’t take them, though—they’re safe and sound to be shared. It’s a utopian situation of adolescent joy until a bully arrives to steal what he likes from out of their hands (in admittedly funny ways).
He intercepts a football and wrestles away an electronic game. He terrorizes these children as “LOU” watches from his safe haven so as not to give away his secret existence. Except it’s too much to bear. He must slither and bounce over to take back what the bully has stolen. A wild ride of cat and mouse commences with an abundance of physical comedy and expert physics as “LOU” falls apart and reforms in multiple variations. And then we discover what is generally the case with bullies: they bully because they were bullied. A shot to the heart of emotion arrives as clarity is revealed and penance is performed. The result is a cutely poignant and important morality tale children everywhere will be better for having learned.
courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures