Classic Film Kid: My Life as a Courgette (Contains Spoilers)

Classic Film Kid: My Life as a Courgette (Contains Spoilers)

Right, which one’s more stupid: My Life as a Courgette or My Life as a Zucchini?

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to another review from me, the Classic Film Kid. Now as you’ve probably noticed if you keep up with modern cinema, you will know that this isn’t a classic from years ago. This is in fact barely months old, debuting in a select number of cinemas back in June to acclaim from multiple critics and audiences. But this film will be deemed a classic one day, and therefore this counts, so don’t go complaining to me.

This film is about the life of Courgette, formerly called Icare, who struggles to live with his alcoholic Mother. After an incident where she seemingly dies, he is moved to a children’s home where he struggles to fit in until an interesting and troubled girl named Camille comes along and he learns how to deal with his current situation. And with no intro, as I’ve said it over and over again, this movie is wonderful.

As some of you may know, this film has a surprisingly short runtime of an hour. That could seem restrained, but it works very well with the narrative structure and plot points to be found here. The film knows what’s important and what’s not to accommodate the runtime, glancing over anything unnecessary so you feel like everything you see has a purpose. My worries for a movie like this is that it would bombard us with flashbacks and have a slow start, but this wasn’t the case. The structure of this film is immaculate, and so is the characterisation.

There aren’t many characters specifically to focus on, only five really, so, therefore, the film can take time exploring their backgrounds, enriching their chemistry. The opening scene with Courgette and his alcoholic mother was actually frightening, and when you meet Simon and Camille, even though Simon’s a bit of an idiot towards him at first, you see their friendship blossom and it’s great to watch these characters bond. The only flaw I would say is that the film sometimes breaks the ‘show don’t tell’ rule, but this could be considered nitpicking.

Even though the themes are depressing and traumatic, the film is just so wonderfully innocent. Its when you see the kids just having fun, playing, running around, it just really touches your heart and it really makes sure the subject matter doesn’t overpower everything else. There is a 5-minute sequence where the kids go to a snowy cabin for the night, we see them having a snowball fight and dancing in a disco, and it helps give the film some heart. Yes, there are all the silly sex references, but no kid under 11-12 years will get those.

The climax is unbelievably intense. It’s like sitting through a lecture by Trump, where you just wanna punch the living daylights out of him. Camille’s abusive aunt is determined to get Camille back, and I have to admit, it was nail-biting stuff with some great dialogue and some powerful voice acting, which really made you breathe a sigh of relief when it all works out fine and Camille and Courgette are fostered by Raymond.

Now, when I first saw the film a few weeks ago, I was disappointed by this ending as I felt there would be a more emotional impact if you took a different route. However, this ending works just as well as they’d been working towards this from the beginning of the film, and coupled with the strong bond Courgette and Camille had, I think it was justified. Whether another ending would have worked better or not is debatable: however, the ending the film gives us is warranted.

Although it doesn’t harm it too much: for what it is, My Life as a Courgette is a wonderful independent Claymation with some masterful characterisation and plotting, coupled with some – Oh wait a minute, have I even talked about the animation? The film has fantastic quirky animation that makes for a powerful experience. I don’t really know who to recommend it to though: all I can say is that young kids will laugh at the jokes while the more mature of us will appreciate the subject matter.

Apart from the occasional breaking of ‘show don’t tell’, I adored this film and I will give it a 9.5/10. Yep, still not a full 10/10. It will come though, you just wait and see.

Well, that’s another review in the bag. Once again, big thanks to you for reading. Future reviews will be for Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Goonies, possibly some more animation, but I’m also expanding from my Doctor Who article a couple of months back by doing an article defending the short-lived Doctor Who spin-off Class and possibly one on Torchwood, though I’ll see. Right, see you all later!

Alex Paine

Alex Paine started reviewing films on the site IntoFilm when he was 9, but now his forte is classic films and TV on the wonderful site The Geek Show. He puts his opinions into detailed reviews with plenty of geeky banter on the side. And in terms of classic films, he has seen some of the greats. Although he still hasn't watched Citizen Kane. Or any of the Godfather films. Or The Shawshank Redemption. Or Apocalypse Now. Or - Let's just say he has a lot more work to do.

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