OK. You probably haven’t heard of this movie. Neither had I, until I happened across it by accident. Some tweet about it being nominated for an Oscar… Anyway it was nominated in the Animated Film class although at least as much of the action involves humans. It didn’t win the Oscar but at least more people will now know about it.
It’s the story of Marcel, a shell dwelling creature that lives in a large AirBnB house with his nana Connie. The exact species of animal is unknown and never divulged in the film. But not only can they talk, they can also even read. They even have a favourite TV show; 60Minutes with host Lesley Stahl.
Marcel seems to be living a happy life in the confines of this house when a documentary film-maker (Dean) moves in. Dean befriends Marcel and learns that there was once a thriving community of these shell living creatures. Previous tenants in the house had regular arguments and during one such argument one of them stormed off with a pile of clothes that the rest of Marcel’s family was in the middle of.
Fascinated by Marcel’s incredible story – and doubtless, that he had discovered a talking mollusk – Dean decides to make a short film about Marcel which he then posts online. Marcel’s popularity suddenly sky rockets as millions of fans latch on to the youtube video.
That level of popularity does not bring with it much in the way of help and despite having so many fans none of them seem interested in helping Marcel locate his lost family.
One day while out in the car with Dean (hunting for the car that took his family away) Marcel gets car sickness and also comes to realise the size of the task. The outside world is a very big place. On returning he find his nana has fallen off the washing machine and cracked her shell so Marcel concentrates his energy on helping her recover.
Kinda Spoiler Alert Warning…
Lesley Stahl contacts Dean and Marcel offering to make a show about Marcel’s life and missing family. Marcel does n’t want to but his nana talks him into it. During the making of the show Marcel’s nana passes away. But the news about his family is out to the wider public, and… Well; I am sure you can guess what happens… Right?
This one definitely went under the radar when it was made and first appeared in 2021 yet was not widely released until July 2022. But it may have a major resurgence now it has been nominated for an Oscar. This is a great little film that can be enjoyed by all the family. It’s not going to get in anyone’s top ten all-time list (definitely not mine at least) but it is easy to sit back and just run with it.
This film has been nominated for lots of awards (I had no idea there were so many – but what do I know?) for best animated picture, and actually won a few. It’s sometimes funny and definitely heart-warming. A bit of a feel good movie. The kids will love it. Especially the way Marcel gets around the house and down those tricky stairs…
Marcel’s child-like naivety often points out some of the more ridiculous things that make up modern day life. Most poignantly (for me) when he realises that the huge youtube following is not what it pretends. People turn up to make their Instagram (or whatever) videos to post themselves on line, in their own movies. All the usual ‘been there and bought the T-shirt’ brigade, making it all about themselves with little or no connection to the original cause. Marcel understandably gets disillusioned by what he sees. “This is not a community. It’s an audience”. Yes, indeed. Well said Marcel!
*** I will give this movie 3 stars (out of the usual 5).