This year, I had the opportunity to see Oscar nominee My Life as a Zucchini at the Sundance Film Festival. Since then, I’ve struggled to find the words to describe this unusual film. I didn’t love My Life as a Zucchini but it is certainly unique and worth taking a look at.
Some people were surprised when they heard My Life as a Zucchini was getting a PG-13 rating, but once you see the film you will understand that rating is deserved. This is part of what makes the film so unusual: the adorable animation that looks preschool level combined with shocking adult moments that I couldn’t believe.
My Life as a Zucchini is about a little boy who is nicknamed ‘Zucchini’ by his alcoholic mother. Eventually he ends up at a home where he makes friends with the other children who have been through great trauma. The two main children are wounded Camille and bitter Simon. Most of the adults in the film are the worst kinds of people and the situation of the kids is not glossed over a bit. There were two moments in particular that had my jaw on the floor.
I want to go into more details but it would be considered spoilers so I won’t. Suffice it to say, it’s emotional stuff, which feels weird coming from these adorable stop motion characters. It’s as if Sesame Street had a ‘life can suck’ episode.
It had a French new wave feel to it (and if any of you have seen the 400 Blows you will know what I mean). There are no easy answers and even the ‘happy ending’ has a very bittersweet note to it.
However, the animation for My Life as a Zucchini is amazing. At Sundance, they showed us the figure of Zucchini and it’s incredible how they were able to use it to create the images on the screen. There’s one scene where they go on a snow vacation that was especially great.
I don’t know. It’s a really tough one to describe; however, I also was charmed by it in many ways. It has wonderful vocal performances including Nick Offerman as Raymond, a police officer who has compassion for Zucchini and Camille. I appreciated that the children were voiced by actual children as opposed to adults trying to sound like children.
In the end, My Life as a Zucchini was a bit too discordant for my tastes but it’s still worth seeing. If you get a chance to see it, let me know what you think.
edited by: Kajsa Rain Forden