Film Review: Geri's Game

by Julia DeKorte | 24 Feb 2024

Book Reviews

Geri’s Game is an award-winning short film produced by Pixar about an elderly man playing a game of chess against himself. The man, Geri, sets up his chessboard on a table in the park on an autumn day, and seemingly has the park to himself. He makes his first move, moving a white pawn to a center space, before getting up and sitting in the chair across from himself, and moving a black pawn to the neighboring center space. And thus, Geri begins a game of chess against himself.


His two personas are very different. The Geri playing with the white pieces is timid, and honestly, not very good at chess. He is being smoked by the Geri playing the black pieces, and before long, the zealous black-piece Geri has knocked out all of the white-piece Geri’s pieces except for the king. Clearly unable to make any more offensive moves, white-piece Geri fakes a heart attack and falls to the ground. Concerned, black-piece Geri checks his own pulse, and during his lapse in attention, white-piece Geri sneakly flips the board around, so the black pieces are his.


He gets back up and makes a move, using the black pieces, and effectively defeats the original black-piece Geri. And his prize? His false teeth. The film ends by zooming out on the scene, reminding viewers that Geri is in fact alone, and that all it takes to play a game of chess by yourself is a competitive spirit.


Geri’s Game was Pixar’s first film to feature a human as its main character. Work on the short began right after Toy Story came out, and it was an immediate success; it won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. It was written and directed by Jan Pinkava, whose only instructions were to create a story that had a human as its main character and had a serviceable story behind it. Geri’s Game is adorable little short perfect for anyone that wants their hearts warmed in less than 5 minutes.

geri's game pixar

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