Marcel the Shell with Shoes On – Review

by Jed Wagman

Move over Baby Yoda, there’s a new cute little character in town. And that loveable character is Marcel. Marcel is a little shell and has his own little pair of shoes on and one big eye.

After becoming an internet sensation on YouTube back, in 2010, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is from director Dean Fleischer-Camp and writer Jenny Slate (who also voices Marcel). And just about everything about this film, and about the one-inch-tall shell named Marcel wearing shoes, is adorable.

Within a few minutes, it becomes impossible to wipe that big stupid grin off your face and immediately you’ve fallen in love with this tiny shell. He lives inside an Airbnb with his grandmother Connie (voiced by Isabella Rossellini) and their pet lint named Alan. The latest person to move into this Airbnb is documentary filmmaker Dean (Fleischer-Camp) who decides to film Marcel and share videos of him on YouTube. And not much time has passed before Marcel has millions of fans around the world as well as a new hope at finding his long-lost family.

Fleischer-Camp and Slate have found a winning formula with this adorable one-inch shell. With a distinctive and incredibly cute voice, and a lovely pair of shoes to match, Marcel the shell is giving Paddington Bear a run for his money as the most loveable thing on cinema screens in recent years.

Driven by his desire to find his family after a mysterious tragedy split him up from the once thriving community of shells, this endearing little guy just keeps on trucking, spilling charming and wonderful life lessons and it’s just impossible not to love everything he does. Even tiny things like seeing him blowing his nose and throwing up multiple times the first time he goes in a car is just an absolute joy to watch because he’s a tiny one-inch shell.

Beyond the cuteness of his looks and voice, everything that comes out of his mouth is so poignant and hits you right in the heart. “Guess why I smile a lot? Because it’s worth it” Marcel muses at one point and it just reminds you, all over again, how wonderful the world is and we should be grateful for it.

It’s remarkable how much Fleischer-Camp and Slate make us care about such a tiny shell and yet within a few minutes I would already do anything for Marcel. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is a delightful live-action/stop-motion hybrid. The stop motion on Marcel is beautiful and so wonderfully integrated with the live action that when the film ends you have to remind yourself that this little one-inch shell with shoes on named Marcel isn’t actually real because the animation is just so well blended.

Marcel’s perfect messages of peace and love (and not war and hate) make for a delightful film that’s an absolute joy to watch and what’s for sure the most wholesome film of the year. I could watch Marcel forever and wished the film would never end just because everything the shell did, from jumping across Dean’s phone trying to make a phone call to sleeping in-between two slices of bread is just so adorable and heart-warming to watch.

From his distinctive voice to the titular shoes, and his endearing outlook on life, falling in love with Marcel is all too easy and as a result Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is one of the best films of the year, sparking joy, wonder and so much warmth inside of you, leaving you with a new love for life- and in particular shells named Marcel with shoes on.

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is in UK cinemas now.

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