Directed By: Kate Tsang
Starring: Levi Abrino, Cindy Cheung, Madeleine Conner
Premiere: This film premiered at the 2014 San Francisco International Film Festival
Trivia: Featured in season 3 of the TV series Film School Shorts
Director Kate Tsang’s 2014 short film So You’ve Grown Attached is a unique coming-of-age tale in that it’s told not from the perspective of Izzy (Madeleine Conner), the awkward girl growing into a young woman, but that of her imaginary friend, Ex (Simon Pearl), who must decide whether or not his continued presence is helping Izzy on her road to maturity.
Izzy, who, along with her single mother (Cindy Cheung), just moved into a small suburban neighborhood, passes the time by playing with her imaginary friend, Ex. After eight years together, Izzy and Ex have become inseparable, so when BearBear (voiced by Luke Matheny), the case worker at the Imaginary Friends front office, recommends retirement, Ex refuses to listen. But after his attempt to help Izzy buddy up to new neighbor Ron (Jake Miller) prove disastrous, Ex realizes it may be best if he voluntarily steps aside and lets his young companion get on with her life.
So You’ve Grown Attached has a bit in common with Pixar’s Toy Story series in that it shows us what happens to the objects of our youth when we finally outgrow them. For Ex, the realization that Izzy may no longer need him comes very suddenly; as the two play together outside, Izzy spots Ron sitting in his front yard, reading comic books. At first, Ex doesn’t understand what’s just occurred, but in that brief moment, Izzy discovered there are real people in the world, and that it wouldn’t be so bad to spend a little time with them as well. To stay in Izzy’s good graces, Ex reads a few magazines and offers suggestions on how she can impress Ron, but his advice is far from helpful. This, coupled with a sad story that BearBear tells of his own experiences as an imaginary friend, causes Ex to realize what must be done, and whether he likes it or not, he has to do it sooner than later.
Walking a fine line between comedy and pathos, So You’ve Grown Attached is a satisfyingly heartwarming film that might also bring a tear to your eye.