CG Meetup: Playing House

Photo by Anush Gorak on

The short, animated film, Playing House, captures the story of an innocent game of house. A little girl tucks her beloved doll into bed, dusts her makeshift cardboard house, and assembles a homemade meal from playdough. And a small boy watches her play her pretentious game, grabs some inedible food, and enters her cardboard house. They laugh and greet each other, excited about becoming adults.

To further assume their characters, the little girl draws a fake mustache on the boy’s face.

With the adoption of his mustache, the boy’s demeanor begins to morph into a violent, scary man; one that mirrors the real, violent man that lives in the real house outside. The following scene, the boy sits at the table, ready to eat. Taking his first bite of pretend food, he disgustedly shoves the food, along with the place settings, off the table with a loud crash. The boy’s anger starts to rise in further annoyance at the sound of the baby doll crying. Boiling with rage, he is ready to strike the doll. Worried about her doll’s fate, the girl tries to console the doll by grabbing it. The boy raises his hand, while the girl cowers, covering the baby doll and she submits in fear of his anger.

Breaking the children’s role-playing, a harsh voice from inside the real house, is heard summoning the boy. Snapping out of it, both children start to laugh; the girl wipes the fake mustache, the boy leaves, and the day goes on. I think my biggest take away from this film is how intently these children (and children in general) watch the adults in their lives, especially their parents. In the film, we see the children replicate the same type of behavior seen in their home environment; a dark, abusive climate that highlights male dominance and female submission. This is a stark reminder that our actions have consequences, and someone is always watching us.