The film which debuted on Friday on Disney Plus follows Greg's struggle in coming out to his parents
Pixar's new short film Out might just be nine-minutes long, but it marks a monumental step for the studio. The film which debuted on Friday on Disney Plus features Pixar Animation Studios' first-ever gay main character and follows his struggle in coming out to his parents. Out introduces viewers to Greg and his rambunctious little dog Jim, who temporarily switch bodies in a magical turn of events that's reminiscent of the classic Disney body-swap comedies like Freaky Friday and Shaggy Dog movies. Glaad, the L.G.B.T. advocacy organization, applauded Pixar for raising the bar for inclusion in the kids and family entertainment genre by featuring a queer lead for the first time in history.
Out is one of seven from Pixar's SparkShorts program, which according to a statement from Jim Morris—the president of Pixar—"is designed to discover new storytellers, explore new storytelling techniques, and experiment with new production workflows. These films are unlike anything we’ve ever done at Pixar, providing an opportunity to unlock the potential of individual artists and their inventive filmmaking approaches on a smaller scale than our normal fare."
The studio's newest short takes viewers into Greg's life as he gets ready to move to an unnamed city with his boyfriend Manuel. According to The New York times, one scene in the film shows him nervously practicing in front of his furry friend Jim as to how he would come out to his parents before the big move. "Just look them in the eyes and say, 'Mom, Dad, I'm — this is my boyfriend, Manuel,'" Greg says, holding a framed photo of himself with Manuel. He is left shocked when his parents pay him a surprise visit on moving day which becomes all the more eventful when Greg and Jim switch bodies.
"On an average day, Greg's life is filled with family, love, and a rambunctious little dog — but despite all of this, Greg has a secret. Today is different, though," states the film's description. "With some help from his precocious pup and a little bit of magic, Greg might learn that he has nothing to hide." Written and directed by Steven Clay Hunter, who's worked on many Pixar films of the likes of Finding Dory and Toy Story 4, this film is undoubtedly a landmark project in Pixar and Disney's history.
#PixarOUT is a big step up and really beautiful. Hopefully this is a step towards Disney finally making a movie with an lgbt+ main character. Congrats to everyone who worked on it, it's fantastic! Also we stan that it also has biracial couple representation pic.twitter.com/pU1gSTkeHG— Zevhara (@Zevhara20) May 25, 2020
Jeremy Blacklow, director of entertainment media at GLAAD, praised the studio on Sunday, saying: "Over the past few years, L.G.B.T.Q. characters and stories have become common in the kids and family entertainment space with little controversy, but with large celebration from L.G.B.T.Q. families with children who have longed to see themselves represented. By centering on a young gay man, 'Out' just raised the bar for inclusion in kids and family programming."
Kimberly A. Taylor, an associate professor of marketing and logistics at Florida International University in Miami, noted that this progressive turn denotes that Disney and Pixar recognize that "representation matters" on the big and small screens. "To see oneself, one's community, onscreen helps one to feel valued and validated and gives an expanded sense of what's possible," she said. "And on Disney-Pixar's part, it's also just good business. They obviously recognize that their audience, or potential audience, includes the L.G.B.T.Q. community, just as it includes people of all genders, races, ethnicities, religions, and so on."
#PixarOUT had me crying out of happiness and not despair and I’m so happy about that. It’s quality gay representation, full of love and validation. Love the couple is interracial and the ending was just so pure. I love this so much. #SparkShorts— Love, Danny (@DannyWxo) May 25, 2020
This is such a good Pixar short, especially with Pride month starting next week. I definitely recommend anyone with a open-mind to check this out. It will make you laugh & cry during it☺️🏳️🌈 #PixarOUT#SparkShorts #DisneyPlus #PrideMonth #LGBTQhttps://t.co/NQflQXy6ie— DJ-K (Kenji) 🏳️🌈 (@Deejay_K88) May 26, 2020
After years of facing constant criticism for its portrayal of racist and sexist stereotypes and utter lack of representation unless attached to problematic cultural tropes, Disney has been on a path of redemption with Pixar in recent years. The March release Onward featured a self-identified lesbian character named Officer Specter who was voiced by openly gay screenwriter and actress Lena Waithe. Although Officer Specter only appeared in one scene in the movie, it was undoubtedly a step in the right direction.