Review by Benjamin Gummery
My Life as a Courgette is a 2016 Swiss and French Oscar-nominated stop motion animated comedy/drama feature directed by Claude Barras and based on a novel by Gilles Paris.
Following a successful festival run, the english-dubbed version of the film features a stellar cast including Will Forte, Nick Offerman, Ellen Page and Amy Sedaris. While the film speaks for itself, this casting and the performances really bring it to life for the english medium. Nick Offerman’s ‘cop that cares’ is instantly lovable but also has his own depth.
Don’t let the title fool you; the story at the heart of this film is completely serious; although there is some comedy and light-hearted moments in the re-telling.
After losing his mother, a young boy (with the titular nickname ‘Courgette) is befriended by a police officer, Raymond (Nick Offerman), who accompanies him to his new foster home filled with other orphans his age. At first he struggles to find his place in this often strange and hostile environment. Yet with Raymond’s help and his newfound friends, Courgette eventually learns to trust and love, as he searches for a new family of his own.
We start off by seeing some of his troubled child-hood and alcoholic mother inter-twinned with the ‘normal’ life of a child (in this case; his toys are beer cans) and then move on to his interaction with other misfortunate kids of similar but varied backgrounds and we get to see their naive views of several adult themes (i.e sex and drugs) which are woven into the story which is quite frankly charming but important. The animation here is similar in style to the studio Laika (BoxTrolls, Paranorman, Coraline) and similarly deals with ‘adult’ issues through a childs eyes. It also continues. the great tradition of French stop motion and animation such as The City of Lost Children and The Triplets of Belleville. I really appreciated things like little details they added into backgrounds (i.e. Courgettes drawings) which help tell the story in their own way.
A subtle and understated score from Sophie Hunger compliments the picture beautifully which is in some ways melancholic but always moving forward.
This is an easy 5/5 – Moving, beautifully real and thought-provoking for children and adults alike. Go see this film!