In the grand tapestry of the film industry, audiences are treated with kids gloves, as though their IQs were scraping the bottom of the barrel and they had to be spoon-fed their entertainment like the idiots we are. While we can wail about the general public, the rise of independent films and their popularity showcases a more intricate intellect than first thought. This essence of cinematic patronising is increased with children. Christ, people like to think kids are fools. Last year, a Guardian writer bemoaned that Kubo and the Two Strings was too smart for children to enjoy. We’re really selling our off-spring short.
Though I’ll admit that the sugar-addled, messy kin can be easily distracted by a vibrant coloured tic-tac, thanks to the likes of Pixar and Disney, an intellectual children’s film can be enjoyed by all ages. French Academy nominated film My Life as a Courgette is an endearing animation.
Nicknamed Courgette from an abusive mother, a young boy is taken from his home and has to stay at an orphanage following a tragic accident. There, he meets a whole heap of new friends and starts to heal from the pain of his past. With the aid of a police officer who has taken him in, Courgette is about to embrace his new surroundings and find a new home filled with love and acceptance.
Merely 80 minutes long, My Life as a Courgette surprisingly packs an emotional arch and poignant depiction of childhood suffering and growth after trauma. Through a vivid character and set-design, director Claude Barras and his team of stop-motion animators passionately craft this adorable and powerful film. Seeing the world through the eyes of these children adjusting to a new home crafts an artistic licence for weird and unusual character design. The spectrum display is imbued with heart which allows the tale to flow.
There are themes here that should open up dialogue with children and adults alike. An orphanage that tenderly takes care of its residents and actively asking what the child prefers when it comes to horrendous family members. What could’ve been a bleak portrayal of orphaned children becomes an astute understanding of children’s personalities, their reactions as well as emotional responses to stressors and, most importantly, adults. My Life as a Courgette teaches acceptance past a horrific event in your life and how that doesn’t define you as a person. It is through this layers that My Life as a Courgette opens into a compelling and joyous watch.
Animation such as Courgette are really leading the way in what children’s entertainment could be whilst still appealing to the wider adult consumer. Battling against the likes of Despicable Me 3, these quirky yet undeniable stellar movies need as much support. Shape your child’s film education with a unique and fascinating movie.
My Life as a Courgette will melt into your heart and fill you with warmth in an charming and affecting way.
Whilst I’d urge adult and older children audiences to seek out the original French dialogue, the English dub has the voice of Nick Offerman and if that doesn’t sell it to you, I don’t know what will.
My Life as a Courgette is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now!