“Sometimes all you need is a little friendship.”
I found out about the short film Jake & Jasper: A Ferret Tale about a year ago, thanks to a Twitter message which led me to a creative fundraising clip posted on YouTube. In the months that followed, I witnessed how the idea of a film focusing on the friendship of a young boy and a ferret got many supporters as the word about it spread across the social networks. Today, I am happy to review it for the readers of theskykid.com.
Jake (Connor Stanhope) is a young boy who is struggling to come to terms with the passing of his mother. Overwhelmed with grief, he withdraws from his friends at school. He has lost a pillar of his life. He’s confused and suffers from sudden mood swings ranging from depression at home to aggressiveness at school where he is weary about showing his sadness openly. He feels misunderstood by his father, whose own grief incapacitates his abilities to emotionally support his son. Jake’s older sister gives him a pet ferret named Jasper, hoping that Jake will find in Jasper a friend who will help him move past the harsh time of his young life.
The story felt familiar – a lonely boy and his special animal friend (made me recall similar themes from Coming-of-Age masterpieces such as Lassie, Flipper and Shilo). Yet the fact the boy’s pet was a ferret instead of the commonly portrayed larger animals in the movies such dogs, cats, horses or dolphins – did make a difference. Small animals like ferrets convey a sense of harmlessness, helplessness and innocence and these characteristics spill onto the protagonist by association. The playfulness of Jasper, and the affection he displayed towards his new friend, contributed greatly towards the cuteness factor of the movie. That being said, the familiarity of the theme made the story story utterly predicable. And if it were not for the excellent performance of the young Connor Stanhope in the lead role, the beautiful cinematography and soundtrack, I would have been disappointed.
Some would argue that the short format does not allow for a challenging and innovative story plot. And while the movie succeeded in getting me to sympathize with Jake and his struggle, I believe that an element of surprise could have greatly benefited the story.
The death of a loved one is a commonly addressed theme in films belonging to the Coming-of-Age genre. Jake & Jasper: A Ferret Tale offers one solution to the issue of children dealing with grief – the friendship of an animal. The simple story and the family friendly nature of the film guarantee that this movie will appeal to people of different age groups. Young audiences will be drawn by the cheeky playfulness of the ferret, while older viewers are likely to be taken in by the emotional portrayal of grief and convalescence.
Jake & Jasper: A Ferret Tale Trailer
I would like to express my gratitude to the film’s director, Alison Parker, for providing a review copy for the readers of TheSkyKid.com.
You can find more about the film by visiting its Official Web-Site.