Token Hearts (2015) – By Philip Smolen

Theo the Nutcracker was created near the North Pole by a loving couple named Marius and Marie who make a living collecting and selling pecans from the huge pecan tree on their property. One day after a fierce storm, a bolt of lightning strikes the tree and shears off a branch. So Marius takes the branch and creates Theo to help Marie crack all of those pecans. All goes well for the next 200 years until, sadly, Marius and Marie pass away. Theo’s battery fails as well but a bolt of lightning revives him. The little nutcracker then finds an injured elf and he decides to return him to the North Pole. But the journey is fraught with obstacles that Theo must overcome in order to complete his mission. But the determined little nutcracker discovers that there are rewards for his unwavering perseverance.

“Token Hearts” is a lovely and heartfelt short fairy tale told in stop motion animation by Dan and Derek Morrow, creators of the short film “Comet”. Much like that film, “Token Hearts” weaves a captivating and magic mood. Theo, Marius and Marie are pure and simple characters that believe in the power of love and all of the magic that it can create. They live in a uncomplicated world and are driven by uncomplicated needs. Theo is literally the Frankenstein-like child of Marius and Marie. Growing up around them, the nutcracker learns his lessons well from the happy couple and it wants to pass their love on to anyone it meets.

This is a simple tale that is told with charm and warmth. If you have small children, “Token Hearts” is a perfect little short to watch with them. It definitely reawakened the inner child in me.

To watch “Token Hearts”, please go to: