June 27, 2022

SCREEN | 'Marcel the Shell with Shoes On' Finds Family

"A space in my heart gets bigger and louder every day."
Jenny Slate Dean Fleischer-Camp | Marcel the Shell with Shoes On A24
A24 / Elevation Pictures
Co-creators Dean Fleischer-Camp, who also directs and co-stars, and Jenny Slate adapt their series of stop-motion shorts starring the eponymous anthropomorphic seashell (voiced by Slate) into a rather heartwarming feature-length hybrid live-action animated mockumentary film. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On remains a very cute coming-of-age meets slice-of-life effort full of whimsical charm.

Slate reprises her role as the tiny single googly-eyed Marcel with a pair of miniature shoes living in an Airbnb-rented Los Angeles house with his grandmother, Connie (voiced remarkably by Isabella Rossellini), to much delight. Marcel is such a comforting small-scale adventure filled with genuine heart.

Scripted by Fleischer-Camp, Slate, and Nick Paley over the course of seven years with the improvised audio dialogue recorded first before filming the live-action segments then the stop-motion animated elements, the film stretches and squeezes as much sweetness as possible into its ninety-minute runtime.

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On lives up to the endearing and earnest appeal of its original conception. Slate and Fleischer-Camp build on the charming innocence of the open-hearted protagonist. It's an altogether warm experience that elevates on the inspiration of a curious little funny voice extended to a fully-realized character of wonderment.

More | YVArcade / Indiewire / Slashfilm

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