By John-Anthony Disotto

The stop-motion masterpiece that Claude Barras has created with My Life as a Courgette, is one of the most beautifully human pieces I have seen in a long time. The film starts with an accidental murder of an alcoholic mother, throwing any pre-conceptions of the cute clay models out of the window. This film attempts to be different and succeeds emphatically.

My Life as a Courgette is the story of a family bond between orphans after Icare, nicknamed Courgette by his mother, ends up at a foster home. The short hour long film builds on the loneliness and lack of love felt by these misfit children, all with their own traumatic tales to tell. Building them up as a unified entity showcases that family is so much more than our blood line.

No character feels generic or replaceable, each and every one with a strong character arc that showcases the talents of the Swiss director and writers alike. Simon, the bully of the home, quickly becomes a central character that shows Courgette that he is not alone in the world. Every single one of the seven children feels real, leading me to forget that I was watching stop motion clay models and a world within a studio.

The voice acting is fantastic, the film is in French with English subtitles but the sheer innocence and juvenile voices of the characters makes the film an easy listen even for those that don’t speak the language. Add to that the beautiful soundtrack and the end credits song ‘le vent nous portera’ which translates into English as ‘The wind will carry us,’ there is a real sense of raw human emotion throughout; making this film feel like an absolute gem.

This film tackles some of the darkest taboos in society. From rape to suicide, there is a real portrayal of the darkness of the world that we live in. That being said this film is about hope, showcasing that there is always a chance at happiness. It is a life lesson for children and adults alike and one that quite possibly could be the most imaginative and realistically beautiful film we see all year.

My Life as a Courgette is magnificent; it looks gorgeous, it feels real and it plays on human emotion to make you truly question if the life you’re living is meaningful enough. I left the cinema feeling a sense of contentment thanks to the core message of developing trust and finding true love that this film manages to create. It is no surprise that My Life as a Courgette was nominated for multiple Oscars and will most certainly become a film that I recommend to friends and family for years to come. There are few films that create magic and a sense of purpose as much as My Life as a Courgette and I highly recommend for anyone to take an hour out of their busy lives to view a film that quite possibly could make you rethink what it means to love and be loved.

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