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Kubo and the Two Strings

To be a good character animator, one must also be a good actor, and animation, typically an exaggerated abstraction of reality, tends toward appropriately exaggerated performances. Though they’re often capable of exuding enough warmth and humanity to inspire genuine empathy, their reliance on gestural extremes usually keeps them from being as relatable as a skilled actor made of flesh and blood. Kubo and the Two Strings, whose every frame boasts a visual imagination – both aesthetically and narratively – that is breathtaking, won’t be remembered for subtlety, but the rare nuance and naturalistic performance on display in the design and animation of its title character is perhaps my favorite thing about the film.