• Charlie Vogelsang

A Folded Wish (2020) Review

Updated: Dec 20, 2020

Exploring mortality and traditional East Asian culture with this beautiful short, animated film about two sisters who love folding cranes.

A Folded Wish is a CGI animated short film that tells the story of two sisters who live with their grandma, and how much they love spending time together. Directed by Yeow Chien Huey and Nur Halimah binti Abdul Halim, the film explores East Asian culture and the bond between family.

Without any dialogue, A Folded Wish follows the two young sisters as they play together, make origami paper cranes and cause mischief for their grandma. Throughout the film, we are shown subtle indications that one of them is unwell. Tactically, the illness is shown in the background until it becomes a bigger issue.

There are many moments in A Folded Wish which are intricately explored without drawing too much attention to it. In only eight minutes, this short short to explore childhood, mortality, and spiritualism respectfully and effectively.

The movie delves into senbazuru, which translates to one-thousand cranes. It’s an ancient Japanese legend that promises anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by the gods. One of the sisters falls seriously ill, and her sister desperately folds a thousand cranes to make a wish to save her.

A Folded Wish is an outstanding short film

The popularity of senbazuru grew from a young girl, named Sadako Sasaki, during the second World War who had developed leukaemia because of the atomic bombings on Hiroshima. It’s become a common notion in East Asian culture and is delicately expressed throughout the film.

Interestingly, the progression of time is shown with the use of the paper cranes. As time passes, we notice more cranes building up in the background. Again, the directors are showing so much with the slightest details. It’s impressive to see and gives the impression that every shot is meticulously chosen and cleverly thought out.

The toys in the background, slight animation of the curtains billowing, and many other little touches just add all those extra details that you don’t really think of. It adds so much to make it feel like a fully rounded world, instead of a quirky short. While the animation is clearly not at the same level of giants such as Pixar, but it’s beautiful and manages to express a heartfelt story.

With the mixture of the music to perfectly score the mood, the shots, and the exploration of characters, A Folded Wish is an outstanding short film. It certainly shows how much effort is put in, and the credits manage to continue the story of these girls even more. It’s a movie that you wish could longer, just so you can sit and enjoy it more.


Available to watch for free on YouTube.