I know it's only May, but I don't think you'll see a better animated movie this year than Marcel The Shell With Shoes On – and if you haven't already seen it you can now stream it (rental or purchase) from Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play and the other usual suspects. And you should, because it's really rather wonderful.
The film is deceptively simple. A film-maker rents an AirBnb and discovers the titular Marcel, a little snail-like creature who lives in the house with his grandmother, so he decides to get Marcel on camera. What emerges is often devastatingly sad, but it's also very funny and has a lot of fun with internet culture and social media. It's currently sitting with 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is very well deserved.
Is Marcel The Shell With Shoes On worth streaming?
Yes, absolutely. It's the kind of film you want to make everybody watch, and despite the child-friendly characters the film touches on some very grown-up themes such as having the people you love fall ill. I was in bits in quite a lot of it, because the sad bits are devastating.
In the wrong hands this could have been too cute, too sugary, the kind of film that you want to hate as a matter of principle. But as Mark Kermode wrote in The Observer, there's a darkness in this "gently absurdist mockumentary", a "generosity of spirit that reaps bittersweet rewards".
As Brian Lloyd writes on Entertainment.ie: "For a slight, ninety-minute stop-motion animated movie to grapple with something like grief, community, and family and to do it so well, to so keenly observe all of that, is something special."
Marcel The Shell... is genuinely one of the best animated movies I've seen, and one of the best movies full stop. I'd recommend buying it outright rather than just renting it: this is a movie you'll want to watch again and again.