My Life as a Courgette

Ma Vie de Courgette

Claude BarrasSwitzerland / France68 minutes2016PGAges 12- 13ColourFrenchN/A

Director Claude Barras uses gorgeous stop-motion animation to tackle difficult subject matter in this delicately told story about a young boy sent to a group home after the death of his alcoholic mother, who finds comfort, acceptance and hope with his equally troubled new companions.

After accidentally causing the death of his alcoholic mother, nine-year-old Icare is accompanied by kindly policeman Raymond to the Fontaines foster-care centre. He at first finds it difficult to fit in, and is desperately homesick: all he has from his mother is an empty beer can and the nickname she gave to him, "Courgette." He soon learns that the other children in the home have endured similarly traumatic circumstances. With the help of the other kids at the centre — and the gentle-hearted Raymond — Courgette begins rebuilding his life and comes to find comfort and acceptance in his new home.

This story could have been devastatingly dark, but director Claude Barras addresses these themes with subtlety and sensitivity. The clean and simple animation style provides wonderful contrast to the difficult subject matter, and the characters' expressive faces give us hope for the innocence and resilience of children. My Life as a Courgette is authentic, empathetic, and ultimately uplifting.

Content Advisory: some scenes may be upsetting for young viewers, coarse language; discussion of sex; mention of abuse, depression, suicide, and alcoholism; accident death; threatened physical abuse; puppet nudity