"One of the clearest examples of how animation can be used as an artistic medium that expresses complex emotions and ideas and memories in a more powerful and direct manner than even live action film.  Canemaker uses an arsenal of visual metaphors that range from subtle and somewhat whimsical to striking, moving images and frames that convey profound emotion and sadness.

The "Making of" documentary provides a rare and honest window into the creative process of one of the animation world's most unique, knowledgeable and independent voices. I believe that every animation student, practitioner, and educator will find inspiration in this combination of film and documentary."

-- Peter Weishar, Dean of Film, Digital Media and Performing Arts,
Savannah College of Art and Design

"John Canemaker is one of animation's most inventive and compassionate filmmakers. The Moon and the Son is his most intimately felt, poignant and emotionally complex film, interweaving childhood photographs and home movies with diverse styles of hand-drawn animation to become an exemplary model of the animated expressionist memoir."

-- Joshua Siegel, Associate Curator, Department of Film,
The Museum of Modern Art, New York

The Moon and the Son is more than an exceptionally well done and moving animated film -- it is a tool that should be used by mental health professionals who work with victims of domestic violence or with abusive family members to illuminate the insidious impact of both verbal and physical abuse on a family."

-- Emily Ruben, Attorney-in-Charge, Brooklyn Neighborhood Office,
The Legal Aid Society, Civil Practice

"This is not just a powerfully moving and discussion-provoking film for those interested in the art of cinema or animation. The Moon and the Son is for anyone interested in a continued and deeper understanding of their own life stories, childhood experiences, family dynamics and relationships, and parenting, as well as those aspiring and committed to prevention, treatment, and care of children and families dealing with domestic violence and trauma."

-- Topher Collier, PsyD, ABSNP, Clinical Psychologist and Neuropsychologist
Division 56 of the American Psychological Association

"A primal animation experience that can return you to the wonder and fear that, when you first encounter them, make fairy tales so terrifying and hypnotic. In the form of an imaginary confrontation with his father, Canemaker creates a wrenching portrait of a man devastated by guilt-induced rages directed against his wife and two sons. Canemaker, the son who changed his name and took refuge in animation [and theater] from the ravages of his father's appalling behavior, now turns aggressor, demanding explanations from a dying man. Against all the evidence, the son hopes to find a rational explanation for his father's behavior. He hears his father tell his story, as sad as anything out of Chekhov, and then holds the story back up to him -- and us -- in the form of a cartoon.

Canemaker has always been drawn to serious topics, but this is his most extreme and, I think, most compassionate film. Graham Greene once said that writers should keep a chip of ice in their hearts. Canemaker is not about to melt. He is pitiless in holding his father accountable for the damage he did his
family. But emotionally the film is on his father's side. If you were simply to listen to the film's sound track, you would hear two people joined in grief, separated by natures that lock them in worlds they cannot transcend. But when you see the film and watch how the drawings work, you feel connections, expressions of compassion and even love that the steel-eyed son, deeply hurt and confused, can never speak.

These are signature Canemaker images -- bright and cartoony, strongly reminiscent of the circus, fireworks, and puppet theater.
All Canemaker's heroes are here -- Disney, Messmer, Chuck Jones, McCay, John Hubley -- acting, it seemed to me, like powerful good angels to protect a vulnerable son and show him ways that animation can transcend feelings of hurt, shame, and anger. Canemaker, I think, never trusted his art more. The result is a film full of heart, deeply moving."

-- Russell Merritt, Professor, Film Studies, University of California Berkeley

"The documentary about the making of The Moon and the Son is a supportive resource that reveals and encourages the process of creating personalized work. It is an invaluable aide for animation students in the classroom."

-- Douglas Hudson, Animation Chair, Kansas City Art Institute

"A cathartic experience in which animation is used as a way of communicating thoughts and emotions, sometimes in an abstract manner, about the turbulent relation of the author with his father, in a movie which is simultaneously devastating and redemptive."

-- Luis Salvado, International Federation of Film Critics

"John Canemaker's animated memoir is moving, surprising, compelling and altogether original. I was deeply touched by the film and believe that anyone who has ever had a father will be too."

-- Karen Cooper, Director, Film Forum, New York

"John has mined his personal history to make a uniquely moving story about a son trying to come to terms with his father and understand the life he led."

-- Leonard Maltin