My Life as a Courgette review: A sweet, charming drama that balances naivety and tragedy

 
James Luxford
My Life as a Courgette
5.0

A heartfelt French animation, My Life As A Courgette follows troubled youngster Courgette, who must suddenly adjust to life in a foster home following the death of his alcoholic mother. There he meets a miscellany of child misfits, and must work with them to devise a plan to prevent his friend Camille being taken away by her dastardly aunt.

Striking stop motion animation brings Courgette’s story to life, with all the quiet tragedy and redemptive joy of the most prestigious live action drama. No scene is overplayed, instead viewing the situations of the children through their own innocent eyes. Rendered with this kind of naive simplicity, even the smallest expression or change in tone can be devastating.

The residents of the foster home are all deeply endearing characters, with playful scenes of naughtiness drawing you in closer. The film’s underlying message, that family can takes many forms, is poignant given the sadness of their situations, but the result is ultimately uplifting.

Director Claude Barras’ feature length debut, My Life As A Courgette is reminiscent of the best Roald Dahl stories, and handles emotion with deft sweetness.

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