As I write this, five animated films are each hoping to take home a golden statue tonight at the Oscars. By the time you read this, one of these will have won: Zootopia, Moana, Kubo and the Two Strings, The Red Turtle, and…My Life as a Zucchini?
Zootopia and Moana are a couple of Disney‘s best. I’m sure you’ve seen them, and probably loved them (the first few times at least), especially if you have kids. Kubo is from the powerful stop motion animation house, Laika, and you’ve probably at least heard of it and seen the ads on television. If you follow film and animation, The Red Turtle from beloved animation Studio Ghibli in Japan is no surprise (even if I didn’t love it). My Life as a Zucchini though, say what?
Ma vie de Courgette is a French and Swiss adaptation of an acclaimed novel about a young orphan who goes by the nickname “Courgette”, or “Zucchini.” Told as a fairly short (66 minutes) claymation endeavor, My Life is a sweet story about a boy in a bad place getting to a better one.
After an incident takes Zucchini’s one poor parent and gives him none at all, he finds himself in a home for children like himself, trying to fit into a confusing world.
Not nearly as sophisticated an effort as something like Kubo, the movie’s animation is still well thought out and wonderful to look at, spending time getting the details of motion right through stop motion animation. Simplistic and abstract in its style, it is also quite sophisticated in its attention to detail when it matters, creating a heightened visual experience that lends itself well to seeing a story through the eyes of a child.
As is typical for a French film, the movie is rather frank about certain things, like sex, and I’m not quite sure who the intended audience is for the film. There is a lot here for children of all ages, yet certain parts seem less than appropriate for anyone but older viewers. Luckily, it’s an engaging experience even for adults, but I’m not sure how many will find it something interesting enough to seek out.
It is a lovely story though, even if it follows some well tread paths. It’s less plot driven (though there is one) than a character experience, and the characters are easily to quickly fall in love with. The short runtime is wonderful for pacing, and though it would have been nice to get to know some of the characters more, the film does wonders with telling you a lot with just a few lines of dialogue or even no dialogue at all.
An easy watch with an enjoyable story and fun characters, My Life as a Zucchini may struggle to find an American audience, but it should be on your radar all the same.
Mrs. Hamster says:
Brother Hamster did not screen this film
My rating: Four out of five hats
My Life as a Zucchini is in limited release, coming to the DC area March 3