Winning the Golden Globe in its category would not make The Illusionist any better or any worse (it didn't). Images and characters have a great way to get by, even without what I would call a decent story, but a muted storyline that gives us less that we would ideally want from it.
The Illusionist is a Tati-esque character, a wandering magician at the times when magic is totally out. The audience opts for other popular entertainment and he finds almost no one to entertain until a moment when a girl with old shoes appreciates what others cannot. She follows him to Edinburgh and cares for him until she becomes a swan and has to choose life.
The scenario dates back to Jacques Tati, originally meant to feature actors instead of animation, but the choice is superb and the visual character of the film is undoubtedly its strongest point. Scanty dialogue, slow pace and melancholic mood, a rare treat for these times that we are in bad need of an ambient film, not a demanding one in terms of comprehension and attention.
Unlike Les Triplettes de Belleville Sylvain's Chomet previous oeuvre, this one is not vividly filled with grotesque moments and pleasant turmoil; it is a quiet tear falling down from eyes witnessing beauty in the lights of Edinburgh city by night. With the reminiscence of departing trains, children growing up and leaving, like arrows, our encouraging lap.