Every now and then, we have the privilege of watching a movie that leaves an impact on us and makes us want to be a better person and more grateful for the luxury of living this miracle of life. Marcel, the title character in“Marcel the Shell with Shoes On,” is one of the most adorable and sweetest characters I’ve seen in film lately. The film is simple, yet emotionally effective and profound.
“Marcel the Shell with Shoes On,” directed by Dean Fleischer-Camp, features the voices of Jenny Slate and Isabella Rossellini and is accompanied by Rosa Salazar and Fleischer-Camp. This film follows Marcel (Slate) and his grandmother, Connie (Rossellini) as the only members of their community to survive a mysterious event. A filmmaker discovers them and decides to film a documentary which then will hopefully lead to finding the rest of Marcel’s family.
This well-written script made me care about a shell with shoes on. It works with a repeat viewing (I’ve seen it twice). It’s lovely and beautifully handled. This was further aided by an exceptional performance from Slate, who gives Marcel its personality. Her performance is a friendly reminder of the importance of acknowledging and rewarding actors for voicing characters. Slate gives this character its innocence, confidence, empathy, and such a heartwarming feel that you want to become friends with Marcel. There are some sincerely hilarious jokes throughout this movie that are effective, thanks to Slate’s perfect comedic timing and delivery.
There are various tearjerker moments as well. Without spoiling anything, I confess that I completely lost it when something happened to the grandmother. Its beautiful story will keep you engaged, and its wholesome characters will remind you about the importance of family, community, and the simple, yet contemplative, way of perceiving (and living) everyday life.
I admired the creativity behind the setups in Marcel’s house from the way he gets around the house using a tennis ball and the bedroom (or breadroom). I loved the use of objects we often don’t view as valuable or usable, such as a prescription pill bottle lid as a table, a pistachio shell as a helmet, two slices of bread as a bed (hence the breadroom reference), and the dust on a table to skate on. It’s a wonderful reminder that everything has a purpose and that we must not take anything for granted because we may never know for certain what may occur tomorrow.
Overall, “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” is a tender, sweet, and thought-provoking look at family, friendship, and life. Marcel will melt your heart and he may even make you look at the world with a different lens.