Okay, it's not Christmas, but this short, stop-motion animation about two lemurs in love is basically a John Lewis Christmas advert, and it'll break your heart.

Encapsulating the story of star-crossed lovers, this stop-motion animation short tells the tale of two lemurs, who are navigating the world in their hot air balloons to reunite with one another. Two Balloons lasts only nine minutes and what a delightful nine minutes it is.

From the opening sequence, it is clear that a lot of thought has gone into crafting every element of this enchanting piece. In the latest creation by writer and director Mark C. Smith, the level of detail is extraordinary. Beginning with close shots of mysterious food jars and technical navigation equipment in the cabin of the balloon, the composition builds to paint a vivid picture of life as a traveller. The result is a finished product with a quality that could easily rival big players in stop-motion animation.

Our stars of the story are two ring-tailed lemurs. Again, the attention to developing the characters is exceptional. Although there is no dialogue, the male and female lemurs are cleverly distinguished using subtle yet distinct differences in their appearance and behaviour. Animalistic imagery such as the male lemur wrapping his tail around himself when he is dreaming of his other half, remind the viewer that the main figures are not human. However, the interactions weave together perfectly to personify the characters, adding warmth to the plotline and helping viewers relate to their quest of true love.

The best part about this short is that the story arc takes place in the air allowing the creation of a truly romantic setting. The balloons look like magical Chinese lanterns against the beautiful expanse of the starry night sky. This scenery creates a stunning backdrop and allows some touching moments to develop throughout the story: a particular favourite involves the friendly neighbourhood sea gull that is commandeered to play carrier pigeon, conveying declarations of affection across the clouds.

The creators have successfully produced a film with no speech and a very simple plotline. Despite this, it still grips your attention throughout. What makes it a success is that is feels like a labour of love for the production team, and the result is a charming romance that leaves a warm glow after you finish watching. The only downside is that Two Balloons is a short and it is therefore over too soon.

★★★★☆