The Girl and the Ghost (2012)

Destiny and the hope for something amazing after we die, play a heavy role in animator Jacob Drake’s short film “The Girl and the Ghost.” While the film is essentially a short tale about friendship and being there for someone at their darkest times, the film itself feels like a hope that we’re not finished once we’ve passed on. There must be something beyond this world. We can all hope for that. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to continue our journey. Fates collide one night when young Annabella refuses to sleep, convinced that evil monsters are in her closet.

Her ever patient mother shows her there’s simply nothing to be frightened of, and is whisked off to bed. That night Annabella is greeted by the specter of a young British man in a suit and hat who has inexplicably wound up in her room. Frightened, the young man simply named William, reveals himself to be human, too. He is just as frightened of her as she is of him. Jacob Drake is an artist I have been a fan of for years, and with “The Girl and the Ghost,” it’s an animated accomplishment that achieves a level of whimsy and fantasy that’s absolutely marvelous. The world outside William’s own spectral being is dark and deserted, and for some miraculous reason, he’s dropped in to the inner circle of young Annabella.

A ghost seeking safety from the darkness is met with a child seeking safety from the darkness, and two discover that they serve a purpose that’s greater than either of them. In only seventeen minutes, Annabella and William share a friendship that will change their lives forever, and writer Drake is able to compose a journey of two interesting characters in a very short run time. Frequent Jacob Drake collaborator, director Larry Longstreth plays the ailing William, a mysterious man looking for his own end of the journey who accidentally finds himself in the dark room of young Annabella. The why is a mystery, but chance has placed him in the open arms of an awe inspired and innocent young girl, and she becomes the key to the resolution of his restless spirit.

Especially when a dark figure comes knocking at Annabella’s window, prepared to complete their own intent for William. Aaron Longstreth is great as the mysterious Harold who interjects the duos friendship mid-way for his own mission, and Marisa Zakaria pulls a strong double performance as the young Annabella and her oblivious mother who snores in blissful ignorance doors away as Annabella plays a part in a very important spiritual journey. “The Girl and the Ghost” is a mature and awfully gut wrenching fantasy drama with a wonderful sense of atmosphere and tone, and rich characters. Jacob Drake presents a wonderful narrative about a brief moment in someone’s life when they became significant to something very important. With a healthy amount of ambiguity and mystery, director and writer Jacob Drake’s “The Girl and the Ghost” is an animated work of love, filled with well drawn characters, complex undertones, and a sweet on-screen dynamic worthy of an audience.