Canvas review – another Netflix short film that pulls at our heartstrings

By Daniel Hart
Published: December 11, 2020 (Last updated: May 3, 2023)
Netflix short film Canvas


Canvas brings a lighter perspective to tragedy in a touching, emotional short.

This review of Netflix short film Canvas contains no spoilers. The short animation was released on the streaming service on December 11, 2020.

Let’s hope this is not a trend for Netflix because I do not think my heart can take it. Last week the streaming service released If Anything Happens I Love You which dealt with loss, and that painful emotional void. Canvas is much lighter on the subject but still deals with loss. It follows a grandfather who has experienced a tragic loss, and he is struggling to reclaim his passion for painting. The mood of the short film is lighter, but what’s painful is that underlying sadness. It’s like refusing your pet treats, and they look at you with those puppy eyes — it’s that kind of sadness as we see the older man quietly navigate life.

Canvas has zero dialogue whatsoever — it relies purely on your visual senses to feel the moment. A lot of assumptions can be made, especially when his family visits him; there’s a sadness that is implied with a fleeting hug or the grimace of a face.

But the beauty of Canvas is the grandfather’s reasons for reclaiming his passion. There’s an emotional angle that breathes life back into his hobby and gives a needed perspective to the film. The message that is relayed is that regardless of what life throws at you — from tragedies to setbacks — your passion can never be buried. Something can always bring you back to what you love doing, to bring you purpose and joy, and age is only a factor. There’s a sense of assumed nostalgia that runs through the grandfather’s demeanor that translates well to the audience.

Netflix’s Canvas brings a lighter perspective to tragedy in a touching, emotional short.

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