Meet Marcel, a tiny talking shell, on a big-hearted big-screen stop-motion adventure, as tender and funny as it is insightful and poignant.
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Marcel is an adorable and charming little shell (voiced by the ever-brilliant Jenny Slade) who ekes out a colourful existence with his grandmother Connie (Isabella Rossellini) and their pet lint, Alan. Once part of a sprawling community of shells, they now live alone as the sole survivors of a mysterious tragedy. But when a documentary filmmaker (Dean Fleischer-Camp) discovers them amongst the clutter of his Airbnb, the short film he makes brings Marcel millions of passionate fans, as well as unprecedented dangers and a new shot at finding his long-lost whānau.
If you haven’t already met Marcel through his series of online low-fi high-quirk shorts, I suggest you get watching the minute you finish reading this. The original trilogy was created through a collaboration between writer/director Dean Fleischer-Camp and actor/writer Jenny Slate – set up as mockumentaries that see anthropomorphic snail shell Marcel being interviewed about his interests, hobbies, and some of life’s big questions. Marcel was a total hit from the moment he appeared on the internet scene back in 2010 – and it’s magnificent to see this endearing little mollusc get his much-deserved feature-length debut in a hilarious and heartwarming story about finding connection and community, even in the smallest of corners.
Gently incorporating themes of separation, loneliness and grief, Dean and Jenny have created a magnificent film for all-ages that beautifully balances laugh-out loud gags with the perfect amount of hit-you-in the-heart emotion. Sometimes it simply takes a tiny one-eyed talking shell with shoes on to remind us all, that when it comes down to it, a little optimism and kindness is all that really matters. — Nic Marshall