An 11-year-old girl growing up under Taliban rule in Afghanistan; a middle aged man having a breakdown at a hotel in America; two children making their way across Japan during the Second World War – all fairly unsurprising subjects for films.

What is surprising about The Breadwinner, Anomalisa and Grave of The Fireflies is their format, all three of these films are animated (In the case of Anomalisa, stop motion animated, but let’s not split intricately modelled hairs) which is unusual.

We tend to think of animated films as ‘kids’ films, and mostly they are, Wall-E, Cars and Ice Age all have something to offer adults, but are all clearly aimed at children.

Recent years have seen a huge growth in animated films aimed at a more adult audience including Persepolis, Chico & Rita, Loving Vincent and more.

What I find interesting is when films use animation to add an element to a story that traditional live action filmmaking couldn’t.

Take the stunning Anomalisa from 2015, middle aged motivational speaker goes to a conference to give a speech, suffers some sort of breakdown, has a brief liaison with a fan, goes home.

So far so what?

But seeing that character hop naked round a bathroom as a stop motion figure, we see something familiar presented in new and unfamiliar ways.

It’s a moving and perceptive method that uses models to illuminate something very human, and simultaneously slightly removed.

Likewise The Breadwinner, made in Ireland, set in Afghanistan, and Oscar-nominated. The trailer shows oppression and poverty, but also hope and loyalty, presented in a riot of colourful imagery. It all goes to prove that cartoons aren’t just for children anymore.

Anomalisa is available to buy or stream now. The Breadwinner screens at Kinokulture on October 16. Visit for details.