Review: The young poet in ‘Window Horses’ finds identity and belonging in a foreign land
Refreshingly devoid of talking animals and anthropomorphic vehicles, Ann Marie Fleming’s “Window Horses” is a lovely surprise of a stirringly original animated feature.
Meet Rosie Ming — just your average stick drawing of a young, introverted Vancouver Francophile poet of Chinese-Persian extraction (winningly voiced by Sandra Oh), whose self-published, “My Eye Full – Poems of a Person Who Has Never Been to France,” earns her an invitation to an international poetry festival in … Shiraz, Iran.
Upon arriving, effectively enshrouded in a traditional black Muslim chador, thoughtfully packed for her by the overprotective grandmother (Nancy Kwan) who raised her as a child after the death of her mother (Kristen Thomson), Rosie is taken under the maternal wing of a college professor (Shohreh Aghdashloo) whereupon she embarks on a cross-cultural odyssey of self-discovery.
Filled with terrific characters including an angst-ridden German poet named Dietmar (Don McKellar) and generously peppered with gentle satire, the production beguiles with vibrantly rendered hand-drawn sequences contributed by more than a dozen animators.
Those diverse styles coexist beautifully within the context of the inspired storytelling by filmmaker Fleming, a Canadian resident who was born in Japan to Chinese and Australian parents.
While “Window Horses” obviously comes from a deeply personal place, the richly rewarding, poetic Persian epiphany that results in Rosie’s emergence from under that chador as a fully realized individual touches on a universally shared pursuit of identity and belonging.
Running time: 1 hour, 29 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills
The complete guide to home viewing
Get Screen Gab for weekly recommendations, analysis, interviews and irreverent discussion of the TV and streaming movies everyone’s talking about.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.