Back Home Again (2022) Short Film Review- Armessa Movie News


It isn’t a secret that the general public has the ability to appear desensitized from important events if they aren’t exploited in social media. A damn shame if you ask me that people can “organize” challenges, trends, and miss the very big picture of empathy you’re supposed to feel when humanity faces a struggle. I’m kind of missing the point here, but watching Michael Mankowski’s lovely short film Back Home Again hit a spot. This is a short animated film that uses humor to dig into its subject, and manages to address empathy in the most basic manner (and the one that’s most important): one that’s well suited for every member of the family.

But Back Home Again isn’t basic. Its format of a public service announcement is just that. A format. One additional feature for a message that’s full of heart and truth. Sure, familiar voices help the film be more mainstream and widely appreciated, but Mankowski’s mission is integral and pristine. Back Home Again makes you look at yourself and ask if you’re doing the best you can for those around you. All species, of course.

The short film Back Home Again is told from the perspective of animals who had to leave when wildfires began in 2016 in Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo in Alberta, Canada. Using an animated format, the film goes through several witness testimonies by animals who survived and lived to tell the story of how their land was scorched. It’s also a great portrait of heroes who helped the woodland creatures make it to safety. It sounds like an innocent take on a huge ecological disaster but Back Home Again is far from being a cleansed version of a message we need to consider.

Mankowski is behind the camera, along with a great producer he puts together a team of voices, animators and musicians to compose a very sweet and effective film that can be enjoyed by every family member. I can’t say he aims exclusively at this, but it’s the most important target for such a film. Yes, younger audiences are the most prone to be subjected to the toxic style of social media and popular reactions to these events. Films like Back Home Again are not a match for this, but everything helps fight the true fight. Truth versus lies, even in animated forms. 

With a great voice cast (it’s seriously impressive) Back Home Again feels like a breath of fresh air during times where information and communication can be twisted enough for commercial purposes (and more likes!). It’s direct enough to address the important message about ecology and empathy during disasters. Next time you feel children (and why not adults) should be more aware of what’s happening around them, take films like Back Home Again as examples of how to tell compelling stories even if you know they aren’t real. Sometimes animated characters are more engaging than those that are real, and you can find proof in Mankowski’s very sharp film.

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Federico Furzan

Founder of Screentology. Member of the OFCS. RT Certified Critic

Dog dad.

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– Armessa Movie News

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