“A closeted boy runs the risk of being outed by his own heart after it pops out of his chest to chase down the boy of his dreams.” (x)
You’ve probably already heard of “In A Heartbeat,” since the trailer was released this spring and, now that the film itself is available (for free!), it’s all anyone’s been talking about on YouTube.
If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat.
“In A Heartbeat” is an animated short that, in the words of this article on The Guardian, is “about as long as it takes to microwave a cup of ramen noodles.” I think that’s a terrific description, don’t you? Pop in your favorite flavor before you press play and, by the time the credits roll, you’ll have a steaming hot and delicious meal to chow down on as you rewatch the video. Happy-crying into your noodles as you do so.
All right, all right, I’ll stop with the ramen-related advice. #sorrynotsorry
In just four minutes, “In A Heartbeat” tells the story of a young boy named Sherwin and his crush on his classmate, Jonathan. Wordless, accompanied by beautiful instrumental music as cute as any we would hear in a Pixar short, the tiny film opens with Sherwin hiding from Jonathan in a tree, watching him with a dreamy look on his face.
When his heart quite literally leaps out of his chest to follow the boy, Sherwin panics and desperately tries to catch it before the object of his affections, not to mention the entire student body, notice. It’s about more than just a first crush: It’s about the uniquely gay fear of accidentally outing yourself and what it’s like to keep your feelings hidden.
Happily, the film ends minutes later with the boys reunited under a tree, their two hearts joined as one. One heck of a Wholesome 2017™ aesthetic, isn’t it? No one dies. Jonathan doesn’t reject Sherwin in front of everyone to prove his masculinity. And, although animation is for everyone, it likely has special meaning to young questioning and closeted kids.
“In A Heartbeat” even plays with our conception of “good” and “bad” colors:
A week after its debut, the short already had over twenty million views on YouTube. Not bad for a project that began as the senior thesis film of two college students, Esteban Bravo and Beth David, who have both since graduated. I’m so so proud of them! They’ve received massive amounts of attention, even award nominations and job offers. WHEN WILL YOUR STRAIGHT FAVES EVER.
In a sea of tried-and-true – and tired – stories about straight romance, anything LGBTQ+ stands out. Unfortunately, much of the latter is still plagued by the tragedy of heartbreak and even death. We need stories like “In A Heartbeat” to remind us that things don’t always have to be this way.
P.S. You can follow Esteban and Beth on the official “In A Heartbeat” tumblr here. (It’s full of adorable fanart they’ve reblogged in the last few weeks!) You can also find the score, by the Spanish composer Arturo Cardelús, on Spotify here.