Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty - Oscar Animated Shorts 2010 #2

Country: Ireland
Director: Nick Phelan
Writer: Kathleen O'Rourke

Summary: 'You've heard of the Grimm fairy tales? Well Granny's are grimmer' reads Granny's own twitter page. Written and performed by Kathleen O'Rourke, Granny O'Grimm is a miserable old hag who seems to take great delight in manipulating fairy tales to show how put upon the elderly have become. In this short, Granny performs her own take on Sleeping Beauty to her watching (terrified) granddaughter.

In terms of style, Granny O'Grimm flips between two which is always an interesting choice in animation and works well here. When we are in Granny's house the characters are well-rendered 3D images of the type Pixar have got us all used to. However, when Granny gets really in to the telling of her tale, we go 'inside the book' to a sort of pseudo-rendered 2D world. Both styles work and are realised extremely well here: Granny's world is all murky greens and patterned wallpaper, the world of the book the bright floral colours you would expect. Neither is better than the other but stylistically and thematically they operate perfectly, Granny's noxious colouring occasionally imposing itself on the land of fairies.

Kathleen O'Rourke's reading of her own script is fantastic and her disenchanted mumblings around the coherent storyline are hilarious detours. Somewhere in the tale there is a modern fable on the treatment of the old but it is fairly faint and as such it is hard to tell whether this is a by-product of Granny's cynicism or a deliberate choice on behalf of the filmmakers. Sometimes I felt opportunities were missed to play Granny's ramblings for laughs and although Granny relies on her cane to move, the scenes in her house are perhaps a little bereft of animated movement or response. O'Rourke's voice over that continues across the closing credits is brilliant and hilarious, hinting at what perhaps could have been included in the main film.

I liked Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty a lot and the character of Granny is a particularly strong one to help push Brown Bag Film's campaign forwards. Last year I thought This Way Up deserved the award but it possibly suffered because of its lack of a wider message. Granny's own message might be similarly too faint for The Academy to latch on to but no doubt she'll be pushing her own agenda to the (bitter?) end.

If you don't visit the website that has been created for Granny then you really are missing out and the full film is available there. However, it has also been published on YouTube and is reproduced below.


  1. Great short film! I loved the old granny character, very well constructed...

    I like this sort of twisted kind of short stories, like a great short film called Tidy Monster.

  2. Glad you liked it Ryder - it did really well getting nominated for the Oscar in the end. TIDY MONSTER sounds interesting... I'll have to check it out!