The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and The Horse

“What is the bravest thing you’ve ever said? asked the boy. ‘Help,’ said the horse. “Asking for help isn’t giving up,” said the horse, “it’s refusing to give up.”


photo courtesy of AppleTV, 2022

“The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and The Horse” is an Oscar-nominated short film based on a childrens’ story of the same name by Charles Mackesy.  While only available on Apple TV, the movie is well worth the time.

The book, published in October, 2019, is about a small boy who gets lost in the woods and meets three new friends: the mole, the fox, and the horse.  Through each character, we learn that  “all four characters represent different parts of the same person.” The author, Charles Mackesy, goes on to explain, “The inquisitive boy, the mole who’s enthusiastic but a bit greedy, the fox who’s been hurt so is withdrawn from life, slow to trust but wants to be part of things, and the horse who’s the wisest bit, the deepest part of you, the soul.” The film was released Christmas Day, 2022.

The film, also written by Charles Mackesy, radiates peace and calm.  The illustrations are subdued and the pace of the story is slow and meandering. While the story could leave more mature audiences asking questions like, “why is the boy lost?” and “where are his parents,” the gist of the film is that our mental health is important.  There are easy lessons built in that small children can pick up on.

Dr. John Wilson, of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh stated, “this is a book about relationships, fears, hopes, courage, and kindness. We do not need to look too deeply into ourselves, or too far into our relationships with others, for this deceptively simple tale to speak to us profoundly.” One example of this is the fox feeling like his voice is unimportant.  The horse explains how that’s not true.  “To be honest, I often feel that I have nothing interesting to say,” said the fox. “Being honest is always interesting,” said the horse.

The film itself is a mere 34 minutes long.  But its message will remain with you for a long time.

You can see if this film wins an Oscar on Sunday, March 12th.