Marcel The Shell With Shoes On Is The Film We Need
I was not sure what to expect with Marcel The Shell With Shoes On. Quite frankly, I had never heard of it before. The trailers made it out to be equally quirky and wholesome. I will allow myself to spoil this much: the trailers did not lie. What I did not expect is how the film deals with the ebb and flow of life so beautifully. I was also not expecting how much I needed it.
The titular Marcel (wonderfully voiced by Jenny Slate) is, you guessed it, a shell; a sentient one, at that. And yes, he does have shoes on. He lives in a house with his sweet grandmother Connie (the immaculate Isabella Rossellini). The house turns into an Airbnb and that is how amateur filmmaker Dean (director and co-screenwriter Dean Fleischer-Camp) meets the duo and begins to make a documentary on the talking and walking shells.
Everything hinges on Marcel himself. The documentary starts off with Marcel showing how he and Connie go about their day (in some rather ingenious ways, I might add) and it is suggested that he is being performative, but as time goes on, we start to see what really makes Marcel tick. We never learn where he was born or how old he is. Marcel would not have the capacity to give that information, anyway, but it simply does not matter to the story. Marcel is adventurous, overprotective of Connie, and has a great sense of humor. He can also be quite irritable and lonely. This is a fully formed and realized character whose life becomes everything to us.
Marcel delves into subjects such as being separated and trying to find one’s community, feelings of hopelessness and insignificance in the world larger than what one has imagined, and yes, the full cycle of life. But there is also friendship, laughter, and love. It is a film which understands that there is joy to be found in a group, but also that there is beauty in being alone. It is a story that takes place in a rather short time period, but also one that sends us on an emotional rollercoaster, one that is earned by the movie, because that is exactly what life is…even on a day-to-day basis.
Marcel The Shell With Shoes On is a complete triumph. It is a film that forces us to go through life’s highs and lows and we come out better for it in the end. Through Marcel, Connie, and Dean, we get a glimpse into our own humanity. We see how beautiful and wondrous existence can be. This is a heartwarming and unique film that needs to be seen and one that should be supported.