Review: Marcel the Shell with Shoes On – ‘Shell’ yes!

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is one of the cleverest, kindest, most heart-warming and wonderfully unique films ever ...
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Rating: 9.5 out of 10.

The new movie, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, is one of the cleverest, kindest, most heart-warming and wonderfully unique films I’ve ever seen. No war, no guns, no explosions, no divisive politics, cynicism, hatred or hostility… just a simple shell trying to make his way in the world and humbly trying to make it a better place. THIS is the movie the world needs right now!

Despite the three popular short films that Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is based on (2010–14) and the best-selling books (Marcel the Shell with Shoes On: Things About Me and Marcel the Shell: the Most Surprised I’ve Ever Been) I’d never even heard of Marcel until this theatrical film release – and I am an instant fan.

I have no idea what sort of crustacean Marcel might be or how he came to exist, but none of that matters. He is probably more human than most people and his perspective on the world is both naively innocent and wisely insightful.

The film, in a nutshell, is a documentary being made by a man who discovers Marcel and his grandma, Connie (Isabella Rossellini) in an Airbnb he is renting. The man’s short videos become a viral online sensation and eventually 60 Minutes’ reporter Lesley Stahl, who happens to be Marcel’s favorite, comes knocking on his door and wants to do an interview.

If I have one gripe about the movie (and it is only a very minor one) it would be that the social media stuff and the 60 Minutes subplot will prevent the movie from being a timeless classic – and it is deserving of that stature.

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is directed by Dean Fleischer-Camp and co-written by him and Jenny Slate, who also does Marcel’s voice. The endlessly inventive world they have created for Marcel is richly detailed and ingeniously smart while looking deceitfully haphazard.

 Marcel’s voice, Jenny Slate, reminded me a lot of the voice of Babe, the pig from the classic 1995 film. Apparently, Christine Cavanaugh did the voice of Babe, but boy do they sound similar. In fact, Babe is probably the closest film you will find to Marcel the Shell with Shoes On in terms of warmth and demeanor.

I often joke sarcastically about this or that movie not necessarily being the feel good film of the summer, as most are not very “feel good” at all. But this, THIS movie is just that! I can’t recommend it highly enough. Bring your family and friends and share the word.

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About the author

Bob Leeper

Bob Leeper is the co-owner and manager of "Arizona’s Pop Culture and Alternative Art Network," Evermore Nevermore. He is the co-creator of the pop culture events Steampunk Street and ENCREDICON, and is a member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society. He also curates the Facebook fan site The Arizona Cave – AZ Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is one of the few brave and bold fans of Jar Jar Binks.