The Red Balloon is a 1956 live-action family fantasy short film which is one of the most well regarded shorts ever and rightfully so as it truly is a classic.
It follows the adventures of a young boy who befriends a sentient balloon. I adored this movie as it is just a perfect family film that is wonderfully childlike and innocent. It benefits from some outstanding technical aspects, but the boy and the balloon at the center here are the reasons why it works so well. The balloon is brought to life superbly and the almost child-pet relationship between the two is so endearing to watch. And the highlight is of course the ending which is so sentimental and uplifting, but in a good way.
That ending has some superb special effects and it looks fantastic, admirably so given its age. The whole film is so technically polished that it is just a marvel to look at and listen to. The Technicolor is absolutely gorgeous and the film is so well filmed with some great cinematography. I loved the score as it lifted some already beautiful moments to greater heights. I have just one problem here and that is its episodic nature. Those parts and episodes are all great, but it still does feel too episodic at times. But regardless of that, the film is mostly flawless with some great pacing and just the right amount of running time. I also loved that it is silent with a small amount of dialogue, but with accompanied sound effects. And the filmmakers just knew when to put the score and when to put the sound effects leading to such a remarkably slick and polished work that is such a great accomplishment.