This Oscar-nominated animation about a loving son and his dying mom is so beautiful it hurts.

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This Oscar-nominated animation about a loving son and his dying mom is so beautiful it hurts.

Filmmaker Daisy Jacobs tells the story of two brothers struggling with the care of their dying mother.

Mom hears Nick enter the house and asks if he’s Richard. Clearly, frustrated, he tells her no. Meanwhile, the Richard arrives in a speedy car. He walks into the kitchen, grabs some baklava and makes some small talk.

Richard tells Nick all he thinks about now is death.

Nick wants Richard to help take care of mom on nights. When Richard suggests they put her in a nursing home, Nick furiously rejects the idea. If Richard won’t take care of her, he’ll need to break it to her.

Richard brings some tea to the living room, while Nick vacuums. Mom wants them to get along, angering Nick, who sucks up everything in the room — including Richard.

Later, as Nick irons the sheets, he overhears mom complaining to a friend that he doesn’t work and lacks Richard’s drive. Nick slams the tray on the table, scaring them. Upset, he yells at mom for being unappreciative. She tells him it’s not a competition.

He calms down and pours them some tea.

Nick goes to take a shower. But shortly after turning on the water, he hears mom calling for help. He rushes out and calls the doctor.

As the doctor enters the living room, Richard asks if mom has a twisted stomach. Nick asks if it’s constipation. The doctor says they’ll need to clean her up. Then, Richard thanks him for coming and walks him out. Nick turns off the light in the living room and tends to mom.

Mom apologizes for making a mess and Nick tells her it’s okay and he loves her.

Days pass and Nick and Richard take turns caring for mom.

One day, Richard calls Nick to say mom has passed away. Nick asks if Richard left her bedside — Richard says he only popped out for a few minutes and drove straight back. He swears he was with her, held her hand and told her he loved her.

Richard tells Nick he’s with her now. After he hangs up, he breaks down in tears holding mom’s lifeless body.

The brothers are back at home, pack up mom’s belongings. Richard pauses for a moment and Nick asks what he’s looking at. To which, he replies, “death.”

They stare quietly before sharing a moment of laughter. Then, Nick suggests they both get on.

Jacobs was motivated to make the film after seeing the death of her grandma to Parkinson’s disease. In the last three years, the disease took hold, paralyzing her and confining her to a wheelchair.

She took all her emotions, conflicts and feelings to create an animation using an unusual technique — characters were hand-painted on to walls in life-sized sets, dressed with a mix of real furniture and papier-mache props.

My heart breaks at 4:00…






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