Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is a mockumentary written by Dean Fleischer Camp, Elizabeth Holm, Nick Paley, and Jenny Slate. Marcel was originally just a character in a couple of short films on Youtube, but after these shorts blew up, the decision was made to turn his story into this full-length feature film. The story surrounds a one-inch tall shell named Marcel, who lives with his grandmother in an Airbnb. Although Marcel is happy with his life, he misses his family and community, other shells and small objects that were taken away from him in an accident. This film also required an immense amount of stop motion for all of the shells in Marcel's community, as well as many of Marcel’s actions and belongings.
Although the story and script were written by comedians and the story is centered around a sassy shell on a mission, many reviews claim this movie is tender and surprisingly deep. On the Rotten Tomatoes website, a reviewer, Nefasto R. claims that this film is “One of the sweetest, cutest, funniest lesson(s) about humanity and community that you will ever have the fortune to absorb,” (“Marcel the Shell with Shoes On”). Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is a movie meant for the whole family and has a 99 percent Rotten Tomatoes score on their website, so going into this film I had pretty high expectations,(“Marcel the Shell with Shoes On”).
The following paragraphs contain spoilers for this movie.
Marcel the shell walked into my heart immediately. It was hard not to get attached to his character, not only because of how adorable he is, but also because of how touching his stories are, and how he expresses his emotions surrounding the loss of his family and later the death of his grandmother. I adored all of his interactions with Dean, they feel incredibly natural and Marcel’s personality really shines as he sasses Dean around and expresses his passion for the things and people that he cares about.
It was also incredibly interesting to see social media and the arrival of influencers through Marcel’s eyes as he explored his new-found albeit unwanted fame. Grief can be a complicated topic in film because it’s easy to make it feel really cheap and fake, but this doesn’t happen here. As Marcel processed the death of his grandmother, I felt that I was almost experiencing it with him, instead of just being a bystander to his experience. Nana Connie, Marcel’s grandmother is also an incredible character. At the beginning of the film, I was worried that she was going to be more of a flat character in the background that didn’t matter that much to the plot. However, seeing her interactions with Marcel and how much she truly cared about him and was thinking about him and what his future would be after she was gone was truly heartbreaking just because of how thoughtful it was.
I really liked this film and the message it brings, I can also imagine that it would have been just as effective as a continuation of the short film series, but having this full-length film that contains moments from the youtube video was still an incredible experience and I’m glad that I watched it. I would recommend this movie to anyone that wants a little pick-me-up film with a sweet disposition and some truly incredible characters.
Bailey, Jason. “Behind the Scenes of ‘Marcel the Shell With Shoes On.’” The New York Times, 28 June 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/28/movies/marcel-the-shell-behind-the-scenes.html. Accessed 12 September 2022.
Holm, Elisabeth. “Jenny Slate in Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (2021).” IMDb, 2021, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt15339456/. Accessed 12 September 2022.
“Marcel the Shell with Shoes On.” Rotten Tomatoes, https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/marcel_the_shell_with_shoes_on. Accessed 12 September 2022.
Elizabeth Bentley is a senior at Poudre High School, and this is her first year at the Poudre Press. She writes a blog that you can check out here!