Movie ReviewsJosh Reviews Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Josh Reviews Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On tells the story of a young shell named Marcel (voiced by Jenny Slate), who lives with his grandmother Connie (Isabella Rossellini) in a house that’s become an Airbnb.  Marcel used to live together with a whole community of shells, but they got separated when the former owners of the house split up and moved away.  Marcel and Connie have devised a number of ingenious ways to survive alone in this big house.  Usually they hide from the people who stay in the Airbnb, but they caught the attention of the current occupant, Dean.  Dean started filming Marcel and posting his short videos on the internet… an act which soon sets Marcel off on an adventure and a search to locate his lost family.

I was entirely enraptured by this bizarre and beautiful film.  It has a strange and unique tone.  The film is whimsical and silly, and also in parts deeply melancholy.  It is filled with funny gags and moments, and it also explores painful feelings of loss and loneliness and grief.  I suspect this film will speak to a wide array of ages, hitting different audiences differently.

The film was directed by Dean Fleischer Camp, who co-wrote the screenplay with Jenny Slate (Obvious Child, On the Rocks, and of course she memorably played Mona-Lisa Saperstein on Parks and Recreation) and Nick Paley.  Ms. Slate also stars as the voice of Marcel.  The film is an expansion of several short films about Marcel that were created by Mr. Fleischer Camp and Ms. Slate.

Marcel is a wonderfully memorable creation, beautifully voiced by Ms. Slate.  She gives Marcel a wide-eyed innocence that’s mixed with a playful spunkiness.  Isabella Rossellini (Blue Velvet, Roger Dodger, Joy) is perfect as Marcel’s loving grandmother Connie, bringing deep wells of love and affection for Marcel into her vocal performance.

The film continually surprised me as it unfolded.  I didn’t expect Dean — who is just an off-screen voice for the early going — to actually enter the picture (literally and figuratively).  Dean is played by writer/director Dean Fleischer Camp, and he’s a fun presence as the film unfolds.  (He reminds me of a slightly more straight-laced version of John Wilson from How To with John Wilson.)  And I thought it was great that, after establishing Marcel & Connie’s abiding love for 60 Minutes, they found a way to bring the real Lesley Stahl into the story!

The film looks incredible.  It’s a unique blend of stop-motion animation (for Marcel and Connie) mixed with live-action footage.  It’s a very cool look, and the animation and live-action are seamlessly combined.  I love the old-school stop-motion look to Marcel and Connie’s movements.  It’s sweetly quaint and also quite endearing.

This is a weird one, but I loved it deeply.  I recommend readers of this site give it a try.

Please support my website by clicking through one of our Amazon links the next time you need to shop!  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.  That means I’ll receive a small percentage from any product you purchase from Amazon within 24 hours after clicking through.  Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *