Marcel The Shell with Shoes On is beautiful. If you told me that a movie about a talking shell with shoes would be one of my favourite movies of the year, I would have called you crazy, but it’s true. This documentary style film is about a small shell and his grandmother who get separated from their community of shells and their adventures in attempting to reunite with their family. Marcel’s long journey to the big screen began 12 years ago when his character debuted in a short YouTube video and has culminated with one of A24’s strongest showings ever in this 2022 film.
Let’s start off by talking about the titular character, Marcel, who is the star of the film and absolutely adorable. Marcel is a one-inch talking shell with one googly eye, an animated mouth and… he wears shoes. He has a child-like innocence but also delivers some unexpected, laugh-out-loud zingers. Jenny Slate, who is a co-creator of this project, has been voicing Marcel since 2010 and gives a fantastic voice performance in this film. Marcel is the kind of character you fall in love with very quickly and, by the end of the film, you want to give him a big hug and take him home with you. I have a feeling that when Marcel The Shell comes out in theatres, people will love this delightful little shell and the positivity he spreads in the world. Marcel is going to be a star and a modern film icon.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Marcel’s grandmother Connie who is a loving and supporting figure in his life. Voiced superbly by Isabella Rossellini, Connie is charming, endearing and the grandmother we all want to have.
The stop-motion used in the film is very well done. The team behind the film clearly put a lot of time and effort into bringing Marcel and the other shells to life. I was especially impressed with how they blended the stop motion into moving shots like in the scene where Marcel is being chased by a dog.
If I had to describe Marcel The Shell with Shoes On in one word, it would be “emotion”. This film is full of so many emotions and they were running through me during the entire film. Marcel is a beautiful film for the whole family, but it is also a real tearjerker so don’t forget to bring tissues.
Marcel The Shell is exactly the kind of movie that the world needs right now. Wholesome, emotional, and well made, A24’s first family film is also one of its strongest. If you’re looking for a movie to watch, I can’t recommend Marcel The Shell enough.