Ma vie de Courgette [My Life as a Zucchini] (2016)

Ma vie de Courgette
Director: Claude Barras
Writer: Céline Sciamma, Germano Zullo, Claude Barras, Morgan Navarro
Based on: Gilles Paris’ novel Autobiographie d’une Courgette
Cast: Gaspard Schlatter, Sixtine Murat, Paulin Jaccoud, Michel Vuillermoz, Raul Ribera, Estelle Hennard, Elliot Sanchez, Lou Wick, Brigitte Rosset
Seen on: 21.2.2017

After an accident, Icare, called Courgette, (Gaspard Schlatter) is orphaned. Police man Raymond (Michel Vuillermoz) brings him to a foster home where Courgette lives together with other kids, most notably the rowdy Simon (Paulin Jaccoud) who keeps pressuring Courgette for his story and the new arrival Camille (Sixtine Murat) who Courgette falls for immediately. But how did she end up in the home?

Ma vie de Courgette is a sweet, touching thing that approaches the topic of foster care with caution and a lot of realism. I enjoyed it a lot.

It feels a little weird to say that Ma vie de Courgette is a realistic film – it’s, after all, claymation with heavily stylized character design. But it is realistic nevertheless. The children’s home is not some joyless storage unit where unwanted kids are parked, or a money machine for the people who run it. Neither is it a children’s paradise and it’s clear that the kids carry their history and sometimes it’s rather a lot to carry. But while there maybe certain animosity between the children at times, there’s also community and love between them. 

I also particularly liked that Raymond realized the commitment he made by offering a relationship to Courgette that went beyond the professional requirements for police men. You can’t hop into kids’ lives and then just drop out of them as you please.

Those are good starting points to tell an engaging story and that’s just what the film does, building from them. The characters are well-rounded and they and their stories, while not exactly stereotype-free in some cases, carry the appropriate emotional weight to do them justice and to touch the audience. And everything comes with enough sense of humor to keep it from getting dreary.

All of that makes Ma vie de Courgette a wonderful movie experience, especially with the wonderful music by Sophie Hunger that accompanies it. It’s simply an all around lovely film.

Summarizing: Heartwarming.

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