Back in 2019, more specifically the day Disney+ launched in the US, Canada and The Netherlands, Pixar released one of the first shorts in its new “Sparkshorts” program. This short was titled “Float” and is inspired by the writer/director Bobby Alcid Rubio’s experience as the father of an autistic child.
What Is “Float” About?
“Float” is about a father who tries to hide his unusual son and then must face the consequences.
“Float” From An Autistic Person’s Perspective:
“Float” represents the struggles parents of children on the autism spectrum have to go through because of their children’s diagnosis. The father, in this short, just wants his child to fit in, so he repeatedly tries to stop him from floating around by either grabbing hold of him or by putting rocks in his bag to try and weigh him down. Something I relate to very much is when the father has his son at home, and he’s floating up to the ceiling and drawing on it. I relate to this because I once had a friend who was non-verbal autistic. Her mother made me promise to keep our friendship a secret as the mother didn’t want people “judging” me for being friends with someone else on the spectrum, so my friend was basically kept at home all day and watched “The Muppets” on repeat.
In the scene near the end, the father and his son are at the park. The father yells at his son to “Be Normal” before his son starts crying and all the parents in the park stare at him. This scene is so impactful to me because everyone at school shouted this phrase at me, including teachers, telling me to “Be Normal” and to “Fix Myself”. But the way this scene transitions to the father swinging on the swings with his son before letting him go and float above him says something important to me. It says that being different is good, everyone is unique, which made me fall in love with this short film.
There’s one more little detail within this short, which makes it even more impactful, and that’s the fact that the writer/director Bobby Alcid Rubio left a message for his son Alex just before the credits roll, which thanks to his son for helping him become a better father. “Float”, just like “Loop”, is a fantastic representation of autism. I hope to see more short films, feature-length films and potentially TV series from Pixar which capture the magic that both of these shorts have given to us using the power of storytelling and animation.
What Do You Think About Pixar’s Float?
NOTE: This is all just my opinion, and any comparisons made between my life and this short are made to showcase how this short speaks to me as an autistic person. My opinion on “Float” won’t be the same as every autistic person who has seen it.