My Life as a Zucchini (Ma vie de Courgette) (2016) - Movie Review

Thursday, September 7, 2017

poster for My Life as a Zucchini (2016)
After losing his mother, a young boy is sent to a foster home with other orphans his age where he begins to learn the meaning of trust and true love. (IMDB)

Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 1 hour 10 minutes
Genre(s): Animation, Drama, Comedy
Directed by: Claude Barras
Written by: Céline Sciamma (screenplay), Claude Barras (contributing writer), Morgan Navarro (contributing writer), Germano Zullo (contributing writer), Gilles Paris (based on a book by), Christian La Monte (English script adaptation) & Michael Sinterniklaas (English script adaptation)
Starring: Gaspard Schlatter, Sixtine Murat, Paulin Jaccoud

This review contains spoilers. You have been warned!

This film led to quite a few tears, both happy and sad. In this adaptation of Autobiographie d'une Courgette by Gilles Paris, we are introduced to nine-year-old Icare, who prefers to be called Zucchini. After a heartbreaking accident at his home, Zucchini's alcoholic mother falls down a stairway and dies. At the police station, he quickly bonds with Raymond, a police officer. Raymond takes him to a foster home where he meets several other kids in similar positions. 

Simon is the self-elected leader who tends to bully the others but has good intentions in the end. Alice is a shy, quirky girl with a very dark background and Bea is at the home because her mother was deported. Georgie and Ahmed are very much Simon's minions. It is insinuated that Georgie may be suffering from Munchausen syndrome due to his mother's extreme case of OCD. The home is run by Miss Paterson with the help of Miss Rosy and Mr. Paul (whose romance is great entertainment to the kids). Finally, we have Camille, a strong and empathetic girl with a big heart that seems to be a direct result of the tragedy she witnessed. Zucchini falls for her at first sight and they quickly become very close.

As more events unfold and they are almost torn apart, the gang learns the important lesson that family is not just about blood.

This film treated its child characters with respect and portrayed them as both intelligent and inquisitive which led to them being extremely realistic. While the story is focused mainly on Zucchini and Camille, each character stands on their own and could have easily taken the lead.  I watched the English dub and it was very good, although I do wish that I had time to watch the original French version with subtitles. The stop-motion animation was wonderful and I loved how bright it was. If you decide to give this film a chance (which you definitely should), then I would also recommend watching the making of bonus feature.

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆ 9/10

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