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Even Mice Belong in Heaven review – hand-crafted puppets bond in paradise | Animation in film

In this surreal stop-motion animated fable, based on a children’s book by Czech writer Iva Procházková, Whizzy (Simona Berman), a mouse, roams the animal afterlife with Whitebelly (Graham Halstead), the fox who killed her. Their journey through the great beyond begins at a hot springs known as “the purification plant” and includes a pit stop at a rainbow-hued carnival. One trippy sequence sees Whizzy glimpsing the vastness of the universe in the bottom of a glittering well; a time-lapse of the changing seasons is like Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox meets Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life.

Through Whizzy and Whitebelly’s unlikely friendship, the film gently suggests that it’s a choice to be brave or kind and to overcome our essential animal natures. The story is a little flat, but the gorgeous, hand-crafted puppets and sets give the film dimension. The anxious Whitebelly’s matted fur is rendered with exquisite detail and care, while a featherlight pink footbridge looks as though it’s been constructed from strawberry meringue.

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