Overview: After the death of her mother, an eight-year-old girl clings to a stuffed bunny named Rabbit in search of comfort and normalcy. 2015; 20 Minutes.
Many Films in One: Though it has a simple enough premise, For Floppy Ears Only isn’t a simple documentary. In some ways, For Floppy Ears Only is many films at once. It’s a character study of Lulu, a child who is dealing with the loss of her mother and a study of her father, an admirable and loving man who must work to comfort Lulu and deal with his wife’s death. It’s an intimate look at a family during the hardest of times in their life, and it’s about the things that our childhood toys can come to symbolize. With grace and care, For Floppy Ears Only tells each of these stories brilliantly.
Why it Works: With just a 20 minute run time, director Ronja Hijmans has the difficult task of making every single shot important. In a film this short, everything must mean something in order for the story to be told well. Luckily, Hijmans is very much up to the challenge, and not a second is wasted in For Floppy Ears Only.
What’s remarkable about this documentary is the way that few things are explicitly stated, yet deeply obvious messages about love, loss, and family are clear throughout. Rabbit, Lulu’s stuffed animal that she carries everywhere she goes, is a form of grief. Rabbit is Lulu’s mother, comforting her from beyond the grave. Rabbit is Lulu’s imagination, which is bright and beautiful and big enough to overcome terrible loss. Rabbit is Lulu’s family, her father, who shines throughout the film as a light of optimism and hope. All of these things will become obvious to anyone who watches For Floppy Ears Only, despite the fact that, overall, the film features very little dialogue.
Closing Thoughts: For Floppy Ears Only is a touching snapshot of grief and the way that one little girl deals with it. It’s an examination of family and of the way we cling to what we know in our most desperate moments. It is all of these things in a mere 20 minutes. If you get the chance, watch this documentary.