Canvas (Movie)

Title — Canvas
Available on — Hoopla, Tubi TV
Production Country — United States
Release Date — 2020
After a heartbreaking loss, a grandfather struggling to reclaim his passion for painting finds the inspiration to create again.

🪶 Story & Synopsis

In the animated short film “Canvas,” directed by Frank E. Abney III, viewers are immersed in the emotional journey of an elderly man of African heritage who is wheelchair-bound. The protagonist is struggling to cope with the loss of his wife and has abandoned his passion for painting, avoiding the art studio in his home. As he grapples with grief, he finds solace in observing his granddaughter, who shares his artistic talent.

The narrative unfolds in a small coastal town, focusing on contractor John Marino (Joe Pantoliano) as he navigates the challenges of his wife Mary’s (Marcia Gay Harden) sudden change in behavior. Following a diagnosis of schizophrenia, John must come to terms with his wife’s deteriorating mental health, despite the medical interventions failing to provide relief. Amidst this turmoil, John must also support his son Chris (Devon Gearhart) in understanding and coping with his mother’s condition.

As Mary’s mental state continues to deteriorate, John finds an unexpected source of strength and connection in his son, highlighting the resilience and complexities of familial relationships in the face of adversity.

🧑 Cast & Crew

Actor Role
Joe Pantoliano John Marino
Marcia Gay Harden Mary Mariano
Devon Gearhart Chris Marino
Sophia Bairley Dawn
Marcus Johns Sam
Antony Del Rio Gregg
Griffin Miner Young Chris
Nicholas Alexander Student
Bill Erfurth Officer Savage
Matthew T. Gitkin Boat Salesman
Paul Lasa Hector
Casey Travers Mick
Tim Ware Principal

💬 Reviews and feedback

Canvas Movie Review

If your emotions were a palette of paint, “Canvas” would be the brush that swirls them into a vibrant masterpiece. This short film is like a heartwarming hug wrapped in CGI brilliance, and trust me, it’s worth every minute of your time. Now, let’s dive into this delightful piece of art—without spoilers, of course!

Plot and Themes:

The narrative follows an elderly gentleman who’s grappling with loss and mental illness. Imagine if Pixar decided to tackle serious themes with the grace of an old master painter; that’s “Canvas” for you. It’s both a tear-jerker and a beacon of hope, all without uttering a single word. Yes, you read that right—this short film has no dialogue! But who needs words when the animation speaks volumes?

Acting and Characters:

Despite being animated, the characters in “Canvas” feel incredibly real. The protagonist is an elderly African-American man confined to a wheelchair, navigating through his grief-stricken life. You can almost hear his thoughts and feel his pain through his nuanced expressions. The lack of spoken language doesn’t create a barrier; instead, it bridges gaps between cultures and languages, making it universally relatable.


The direction by Frank E. Abney III is nothing short of masterful. He utilizes every frame to tell the story vividly and emotionally. His background at Pixar shines through as he balances the seriousness of mental health issues with moments of light-heartedness and hope.


The musical score complements the visuals perfectly—think delicate piano melodies mingling with soft strings that tug at your heartstrings just when you think you’re safe from tearing up.


This film is eye candy for those who appreciate fine animation. The use of colors is particularly noteworthy; each shade seems to have been chosen meticulously to evoke specific emotions. Whether it’s the dim, washed-out tones representing sorrow or vibrant hues symbolizing hope and renewal, every detail counts.

Production Design:

The attention to detail in production design elevates “Canvas” from good to exceptional. From the texture on the canvas that our protagonist paints on to the intricate details in his home environment—everything feels lived-in and authentic.

Special Effects:

This might be a CGI film but don’t expect any jaw-dropping explosions or flashy effects here—“Canvas” employs subtlety as its superpower. The animation flows naturally, making even simple actions like painting seem magical.


If you’re someone who appreciates storytelling at its finest without unnecessary rushes or lulls—you’ll love this one! Clocking in at just under 10 minutes, “Canvas” knows how to make every second count.

Binge-watching Tips: ️

  • Cry-Proof Snacks: Avoid anything too crunchy like chips; softer snacks like popcorn are ideal so you can hear every note in that moving soundtrack.
  • Tissue Box Ready: You might need one—or two—for those inevitable tears!
  • No Distractions: This short demands your full attention; put your phone on do-not-disturb mode!

Dialog (or Lack Thereof):
Who needs dialogue when expressions can say so much more? The absence of spoken words makes each gesture more poignant—a nod here feels like an entire monologue.

Interactive Elements:
How did “Canvas” make you feel? Did you find yourself reflecting on personal experiences? Share your thoughts below!
What other movies do you think tackle themes like loss and resilience effectively? Let’s get some recommendations going!

Binge-Watching Tip #2: </br
Group Watch Experience: If possible, watch this one with family or friends (virtually if necessary). It sparks meaningful conversations about coping mechanisms and emotional resilience.

Edit Time & Pace:</br
The editing ensures there’s never a dull moment while maintaining an emotional ebb-and-flow that’s both engaging & thought-provoking.

In conclusion:
“Canvas” isn’t just another short film—it’s an emotive journey painted beautifully across your screen! From its profound themes & stunning animation down to its heartfelt score—it checks all boxes effortlessly.

So here’s my final verdict— 8/10
While no movie ever really nails perfection,”Canvas” comes pretty darn close! Go ahead grab those tissues & immerse yourself into this moving masterpiece today!

Got any similar films you’d recommend? Or perhaps another hidden gem awaiting discovery? Drop them below—we’d love exploring new cinematic treasures together!</br

Keep painting outside lines life offers us—you never know what masterpiece lies ahead waiting!

Pros Cons
Heartwarming storyline Lack of dialog may not appeal to all viewers
Addresses mental illness sensitively Limited color palette and animation style
Well-made CGI production May not offer much originality in storytelling
Provides hope and compassion Not suitable for those seeking fast-paced action


  • Canvas | Official Trailer | Netflix - YouTube

  • Canvas (2020 film) - Wikipedia

    Canvasis an American animated short film written and directed by Frank E. Abney III. It was released on December 11, 2020 on Netflix.

    Directed by Frank E. Abney III
    Written by Frank E. Abney III
    Produced by Paige Johnstone
    Music by Jermaine Stegall


    • Chainwheel Productions
    • Netflix Animation
    Distributed by Netflix

    Release date

    • December 11, 2020

    Running time

  • Watch Canvas | Netflix Official Site

    UNLIMITED TV SHOWS & MOVIESSign InAfter a heartbreaking loss, a grandfather struggling to reclaim his passion for painting finds the inspiration to create again.Watch all you want.A short film about hope, loss and the power of family from the mind of animator Frank E. Abney III (“Coco,” “Toy Story 4”).Watch offlineDownload and watch everywhere you go.This movie is…Heartfelt, EmotionalAudioEnglish – Audio Description, No Dialogue [Original]SubtitlesEnglishHierarchy

  • 'Canvas' Netflix Review: Stream It or Skip It? - Decider

    Netflix animated shortCanvasis the product of filmmaker Frank E. Abney III, a veteran of Pixar’s animation department whose credits includeIncredibles 2,Cocoand the upcomingSoul. In-between films, he works on personal projects, first as an executive producer on Oscar-winning 2019 shortHair Love(which will soon be a series calledYoung Loveon HBO Max), and nowCanvas, a simple, but deeply moving story, entirely in pantomime, about a grieving grandfather and the granddaughter who helps him heal.

  • Canvas Movie Review | Common Sense Media

    Is It Any Good?

    The short filmCanvaspacks plenty of emotion into 9 minutes (actually, 8 minutes plus a minute for credits). Dialogue-free, the film relies on a combination of animation styles and a melodramatic, strings-heavy musical score, harp included, to convey sensations. The story unfolds through those visual and auditory clues, with the blue tint of the grandfather’s house matching his mood and contrasting with the golden yellow outdoors. The lovely story features an elderly man in a wheelchair longing for his apparently dead female spouse or partner. The emotional support of two younger females, presumably his daughter and granddaughter, and the wisdom of the latter, will help him find his inspiration again. It’s a beautiful, emotionally intense film that may inspire discussion about grief and healing.

⚠️ Explanation (Spoiler)

In the animated short film “Canvas,” directed by Frank E. Abney, viewers are taken on an emotional journey of rediscovery and passion. The film, which runs for less than 9 minutes, showcases a beautiful and minimalist approach that speaks volumes without the need for dialogue.

The story revolves around a grandfather who has lost his motivation to paint due to a past trauma. Despite various attempts to reignite his passion, nothing seems to work until an unexpected source sparks his creativity once again. Through visually stunning scenes and a thoughtful use of colors, Abney creates a poignant narrative that resonates with the audience.

One of the central themes explored in “Canvas” is the idea of finding solace and inspiration in unexpected places, especially during times of despair and loneliness. The film beautifully captures the power of art as a means of self-expression and healing, emphasizing the importance of pursuing one’s passion despite the challenges that may come your way.

Abney’s background as a Pixar animator shines through in the meticulous attention to detail and the heartfelt storytelling that unfolds on screen. The relationship between the grandfather and his supportive daughters highlights the intergenerational bond and the impact of familial love and encouragement.

Without relying on dialogue, “Canvas” manages to convey a depth of emotions and a sense of introspection that lingers long after the film ends. The film’s abstract nature and emotional weight showcase the beauty of storytelling through visuals and subtle nuances.

Through platforms like Netflix, “Canvas” has found a place to shine, expanding the horizons of animation and paving the way for more content-driven projects in the industry. The film serves as a reminder to embrace creativity, follow your passion, and find joy in the process of creating art that not only brings happiness to oneself but also to others.

Overall, “Canvas” is a heartfelt and visually captivating animated short that leaves a lasting impression with its powerful storytelling and emotional depth. It is a testament to the enduring power of art and the human spirit’s ability to find light in the darkest of moments.

👪 Parents Guide & Age Rating


Age Rating:


Parental Guide:

Canvas is rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements related to mental illness, including schizophrenia. The film explores the impact of mental health on family dynamics, with a focus on a mother’s struggles with schizophrenia and its effects on her relationships with her husband and son.

The movie is dialogue-free and relies on a combination of animation styles and a melodramatic musical score to convey its emotional depth. While the film is a heartfelt portrayal of the challenges faced by a family coping with mental illness, it may be intense and emotional for younger viewers.

Parents should be aware that “Canvas” addresses serious themes and may not be suitable for children under 13. The depiction of schizophrenia and its impact on family life is central to the narrative, emphasizing the importance of empathy and understanding towards individuals dealing with mental health issues.

Viewer discretion is advised for parents considering watching “Canvas” with their children, as the emotional content and mature subject matter may require guidance and discussion to help younger audiences process the themes presented in the film.

📺 Streaming and where to watch

streaming service extra information
Hoopla Currently you are able to watch ‘Canvas’ streaming on Hoopla.
Tubi TV Currently you are able to watch ‘Canvas’ streaming on Tubi TV for free with ads.
Microsoft Store, Apple TV, Vudu It is also possible to rent ‘Canvas’ on Microsoft Store, Apple TV, Vudu online and to download it on Apple TV, Vudu, Microsoft Store.

❝ Quotes and Cult

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  • Monty Python And The Holy...
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🤖Canvas Reddit Talks

Canvas Movie


“Canvas” is a Black-Led animated short film available on Netflix. It follows a grandfather who struggles to find inspiration to paint after a heartbreaking loss. His granddaughter tries to cheer him up and encourage him to find his passion again.


  • Art and Inspiration: The film explores the power of art to heal and inspire, particularly in times of grief.
  • Intergenerational Relationships: The bond between the grandfather and granddaughter is central to the story, highlighting the importance of family and support.
  • Overcoming Loss: The grandfather’s journey of finding inspiration again after losing his wife shows the resilience of the human spirit.

Positive Reviews

  • “A fun experience.”
  • “Spectacular, with food for thought.”


  • “Something missing.”
  • “Not meant to be something heavy.”

Specific Topics Discussed

  • Cryptic Scary Movie Canvas: Redditors discussed a canvas depicting different scary movies, seeking help in identifying the films featured.
  • AI’s Dark Canvas: A discussion about an AI-generated short film called “Enigma.”
  • Lost in Translation Poster: A Redditor shared their desire to create a canvas poster of a scene from the film “Lost in Translation.”

Top discussions

❓ Frequently Asked Questions

What is the short film Canvas about?

Canvas is a 2006 drama film that follows the Marino family living in South Florida. The story revolves around John, a struggling working-class man, whose wife Mary has schizophrenia.

Is Canvas based on a true story?

Yes, the story is actually based on the director’s childhood experience of growing up in a household with a mother who had schizophrenia. The portrayal of mental illness in the film is realistic and tastefully done.

Who are the main actors in Canvas?

The main cast of Canvas includes Joe Pantoliano as John Marino, Marcia Gay Harden as Mary Marino, Devon Gearhart as Chris Marino, and Julie Upton in supporting roles.

What sets Canvas apart from other films?

Canvas stands out for its serious portrayal of mental illness, heartwarming storyline, and excellent performances by the cast. The film delicately captures the struggles of the Marino family dealing with Mary’s schizophrenia.

Where can I watch Canvas?

Canvas is available for streaming on Netflix. It is a short film about hope, loss, and the power of family, crafted by animator Frank E. Abney III.

What genre does Canvas belong to?

Canvas is a drama film that delves into themes of family dynamics, mental illness, and the resilience of the human spirit. The movie offers a poignant and heartfelt narrative.

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