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Close-Up with Camenker Volume XXXVII, Movie Review: MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON

August 23, 2022

Who doesn’t love a “feel good” movie? Whether it’s a story that tugs at our heartstrings, characters with whom we can relate, or a narrative that allows us to live vicariously through someone who seizes the day, “feel good” has long been a deeply relatable topic for audiences.

For me, MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON is that “feel good” movie of the summer. Based on a series of YouTube shorts that chronicle an anthropomorphic shell named Marcel, the film tells a fuller story of this lovable little creature and his adventures. Even if you are not familiar with Marcel beforehand, it is still a narrative that is both easy to appreciate and enjoy.

Marcel is discovered by Dean Fleischer Camp, who co-wrote the script and makes his directorial debut here, after he moves into the Airbnb where Marcel has lived. Dean quickly starts detailing Marcel’s mannerisms, quirks, adventures, and relationships with others, including his grandmother Connie, voiced by Isabella Rossellini. 

Embedded into these adorable and laughable antics are tender moments that many of us can relate to; scenes that unveil themes about life and happiness. As is often the case with atypical films, there is more that we as viewers can relate to than not. Marcel embodies us as humans in so many ways and it does not take long to notice that.

A short take overall clocking in at under 90 minutes, the movie captures a near perfect amount about Marcel. My chief complaint is that its beginning 20 minutes or so do not dive as deeply into character development as it could. Instead, it is more focused on Marcel’s antics and is comprised of little vignettes. Necessary for the plot, certainly, but a tad longer than it needs to be in my opinion.

Nevertheless, the character development comes and it sure pleases, particularly in the second half of the film which is perhaps the most poignant. In getting to know Marcel and his surroundings, you cannot help but grow attached and root for him as he embarks on a journey to find where he came from. With the help of Dean and some other special guests, it is a fun ride to join as an audience member.

It’s no surprise that critics have raved about the movie and its unique way of storytelling. For such a simple thought that ultimately evolves into something grand and enjoyable, there is a lot to unpack, but I fear that going deeper would reveal too much.

See Marcel for yourself at Red River where I hope, like me, you will be joined by audience members who delight in the ability to laugh out loud, smile, and rejoice in this quirky tale of an inanimate object who we cannot help but relate to in one way or another.

Stay tuned for Volume XXXVIII of “Close-Up with Camenker,” which will return soon!

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