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A24's stop-motion animated film 'Marcel the Shell With Shoes On' is the heartwarmer we need today

Can one little shell win the heart of the whole world? A24 definitely thinks so.

By Matthew Jackson
Marcel The Shell With Shoes On

The folks at A24 are known for their quirky tastes. While the studio might be best known at this point for horror films like The Witch and Midsommar, the studio and distributor has also given us sci-fi (After Yang), magic realism (The Lobster), and even a family variety show (John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch). But even A24 has never given us anything quite like Marcel the Shell with Shoes On before. Now, the first trailer for the film is here, and it'll warm your heart in ways you were perhaps not expecting. 

Based on the series of short films of the same name created by Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp, Marcel follows the adventures of the title character, who is, as you may have expected, a little shell who wears shoes. Voiced by Slate, Marcel is a curious, upbeat, and affable little guy who's eager to share details of his life and ask questions about the world around him. So, when a documentary filmmaker (Dean) shows up at the home Marcel shares with his grandmother Connie (Isabella Rossellini), he's eager to give the shell a bit of a platform. As the internet embraces Marcel as a personality, Marcel starts to wonder if he might be able to use his newfound to reunite with his family, who he hasn't seen for years. 

Check out the trailer below. It's a movie about a talking shell who wears shoes, so it's as weird as you imagine, but there's also something genuinely moving about it. 

It makes a lot of sense that the feature-length version of Marcel's story would begin with a filmmaker documenting his small life at home, because that's how Marcel began as a character in the first place. The original shorts date back to 2010, and they're basically just Marcel giving an unseen documentarian a kind of guided tour of his life. It's weird, yes, and for a while you're simply caught up in the quirky charm of it all, until you realize that there's something both soothing and endearing about the voice Slate has given the character.

It was hard back in the early days of the character to see Marcel as something that could work as a feature-length project, but Slate, Fleischer-Camp, and co-writers Nick Paley and Elisabeth Holm seem to have pulled it off. They're harnessing the natural earnestness of the idea of Marcel, and uses it for what looks to be a genuinely heartwarming ride about the kind of good the internet can do when it turns its eye on a genuine personality. 

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is in theaters June 24.