You know how, when you think you’re failing as a parent, you just go and build a robot version who will succeed where you failed? Yeah, the short film “PAPA” is about that feeling.
From Natalie Labarre, “PAPA” is about a father who seems to honestly love his little daughter, but cannot do anything right. So he, being a weird inventor type, builds her a perfect dad. Unlike so many of versions of this trope, things don’t go horribly wrong with the robot. But it doesn’t go according to plan, either.
“PAPA” uses a hand-drawn style that works for a short focused intensely on a child’s experience. And, for such simple-looking characters, their reactions feel very real. It’s a lovely little cartoon, with shockingly little robot violence.