Review: Marcel the Shell With Shoes On!


Marcel the Shell With Shoes On is a funny, thoughtful, little wonder, just like its lead character. This is a one part all-ages adventure, one part rumination on family, loss and how one shell understands and experiences our great, big world.

Based on a series of video shorts posted to YouTube, Marcel the Shell With Shoes On follows the shoe-sporting shell of the same name (voiced Jenny Slate), who’s just a couple inches tall and lives with his grandmother Connie (Isabella Rossellini). Marcel and Connie were once two members of a thriving community populated with origami-sized creatures just like them, but one night, they disappeared. Marcel and Connie have struggled to stay afloat and maintain their way of life, especially as Connie grows older and less self-reliant. Now, Marcel’s daily life is being documented by Dean, a documentarian, just out of a difficult break-up, who wants to post his Marcel-centric footage online and see what becomes of it. Dean’s videos go viral and suddenly, Marcel is an online sensation. With this newfound fame, Marcel harnesses his clout to find his lost family with the help of Dean and his thousands of fans.

A tennis ball rolls around on a vacant floor, and a tiny shell with sneakers pops out. From its first moments, Marcel the Shell With Shoes On puts you in its lead character’s shoes. There’s a magic to seeing things from the point of view of Marcel. From there, Marcel the Shell With Shoes On proves it has so much to offer. This movie is so lively and funny, like genuinely funny. Marcel’s unexpected, but perfectly logical objection to signing with “Peace and love” had me leaning forward with laughter. At the same time, Marcel the Shell With Shoes On has truly devastating moments, but always in silences and pauses. It tugs on the heartstrings with grace. 

The lesson of Marcel the Shell With Shoes On is to persevere, especially for those you love. Marcel’s winning attitude isn’t a put on, the frequent small difficulties he encounters demonstrates that, at his core, Marcel is a fighter. Undaunted in his quest to find his family, Marcel holds on to hope and gets on the path to find what he’s been searching for. Marcel is just a kind, positive little stinker weathering life’s ups and downs.

Whether you’re young, old or anywhere in between, Marcel the Shell With Shoes On will make you laugh, it might make you cry, but most of all, it will make you smile in its own gentle way. Watch this movie! It deserves all the praise it’s gotten and then some. Marcel the Shell With Shoes On is now streaming on numerous video on demand platforms.