Review: ‘My Life as a Zucchini’

A favorite on the film festival circuit and a Best Animated Feature nominee for the 2017 Academy Awards, I was grateful for a chance to see the European stop-motion animated drama My Life as a Zucchini.

I watched a screener of the new English dub version of the film (the original is in French) that made its debut last month at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. This new English dub includes the voices of Will Forte, Nick Offerman, Ellen Page and Amy Sedaris, among others.

The film tells the story of a young boy nicknamed “Zucchini” and how he, through tragic circumstances, comes to live in an orphanage for older children (Zucchini is age 9 in the film). Raymond, a kindly policeman, befriends the child and helps him navigate his strange new circumstances. As Zucchini deals with his grief, guilt, and confusion, he finds that he isn’t alone–all the kids at the orphanage have their own heavy burdens to bear and overcome.

The stop-motion animation is terrific and the uniquely stylized and expressive character designs make for a visually intriguing experience. I was also quite taken with the score written by Swiss jazz composer Sophie Hunger.

Overall, the film is definitely a bittersweet one. The subject matter is rough, particularly for any viewers on the younger side. Still, watching these characters deal with their sad situations provides for an ultimately inspiring and hopeful tale.

My Life as a Zucchini was directed by Swiss director Claude Barras and was produced in France and Switzerland by multiple companies–RITA Productions, Blue Spirit Productions, Gebeka Films and KNM, in coproduction with the RTS – Radio Télévision Suisse, SRG-SSR, France 3 Cinéma, Rhône Alpes Cinéma and Helium Films. It is being distributed in the U.S. by GKIDS.

Look for My Life as a Zucchini in both English and French language versions in select U.S. theaters beginning on February 24th. Visit the GKIDS website to see if the film is coming to a theater near you.

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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