Home Marcel The Shell With Shoes On (Autism Friendly Screening)

Marcel The Shell With Shoes On (Autism Friendly Screening) (PG)

Cast: Dean Fleischer Camp, Isabella Rossellini, Jenny Slate
Genre: Comedy
Author(s): Dean Fleischer Camp, Jenny Slate, Nick Paley
Director: Dean Fleischer Camp
Release Date: 17/02/2023
Running Time: 90mins
Country: US
Year: 2022

One-inch-tall, googly-eyed talking shell Marcel lives with his grandmother Nana Connie and their pet lint Alan in a house that has been vacant since previous owners Mark and Larissa vociferously parted company. The uncertain fate of Marcel's shell family is a source of unspoken anguish. Filmmaker Dean rents Marcel's house and becomes fascinated by day-to-day activities of his tiny housemate. He begins filming Marcel for a documentary and uploads footage to the internet.


LondonNet Film Review

Marcel The Shell With Shoes On (PG) Film Review from LondonNet

Expanded from a series of stop-motion animated short films, Marcel The Shell With Shoes On is the glorious, life-affirming odyssey of a one-inch-tall, googly-eyed talking shell voiced to perfection by Jenny Slate. Not since Forrest Gump has an unlikely big screen hero plied unabashed sweetness and childlike naivete to such winning effect, whether it be commenting on his perpetually sunny disposition (“Guess why I smile a lot… ’cause it’s worth it”) or correctly identifying a cleaning lady as “the harbinger of the vacuum”…

A script co-written by director Dean Fleischer Camp, Slate and Nick Paley elicits endless empathetic awwws and guffaws, shifting perspective on the modern world to Marcel’s uncynical vantage point as he races around the living room inside a tennis ball. A faux documentary format allows the eponymous casing to narrate thoughts and emotions directly to camera without irony or the intrusion of self-criticism. “Sometimes people say that my head is too big for my body,” matter-of-factly chirrups Marcel, “and then I say, ‘Compared to what?’” We would all do well to embrace Marcel’s uncluttered, self-affirming philosophy.

He lives with his grandmother Nana Connie (voiced by Isabella Rossellini) and their pet lint Alan in a house that has been vacant since previous owners Mark (Thomas Mann) and Larissa (Rosa Salazar) vociferously parted company. The uncertain fate of Marcel’s shell family, including parents Mario (Andy Richter) and Catherine (Sarah Thyre), is a source of unspoken anguish. Connie is in the early stages of dementia so Marcel cares for her while she nurtures vegetables in the garden and talks to insects. “Don’t use me as an excuse not to live,” she implores Marcel.

Every week, they settle down to watch the TV news magazine programme 60 Minutes and their favourite presenter, Lesley Stahl (playing herself). Filmmaker Dean (Fleischer Camp) rents Marcel’s house and becomes fascinated by day-to-day activities of his tiny housemate. He begins filming Marcel for a documentary. “It’s a movie but nobody has any lines and nobody even knows what it is while they’re making it,” the titular shell sweetly explains to Nana Connie. When Dean uploads footage to the internet, Marcel leverages his newfound fame to learn the truth about his family’s disappearance.

Marcel The Shell With Shoes On beautifully distils the circle of life into 90 minutes with an abundance of warming sentiment and sincerity. The stop-motion wizardry is impeccable and Marcel is an effortlessly expressive protagonist, shedding a pool of tears that drips onto the floor or poetically verbalising the void left by missing kin: “A space in my heart gets louder and bigger every day”. Fleischer seamlessly interacts with his diminutive co-star, catalysing an irresistible double-act that proves the only size that truly matters is the full capacity of a beating heart.

– Sarah Lee


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