Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer Camp on the success of Marcel the Shell.

“I think Marcel is a character that people will resonate with because he’s navigating a world that wasn’t made for him,” Camp told IndieWire. “And I think everyone relates to that.”

Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer Camp

Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer Camp

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It’s hard to think of an indie film releasing in 2022 that will have greater appeal than Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. The mockumentary, about a tiny seashell looking for community, first made headlines for its adorable animated protagonist, but soon developed a large adult fan base for its poignant message about adapting to life’s challenges.

In her review of the film, IndieWire’s Kate Erbland wrote, “In an age defined by films that are shaped by questions of connection, community and change, ‘Marcel the Shell’ seamlessly blends big ideas with charm and humor (and more imaginative to boot stop-motion work). In short, it’s the cutest family grief movie you’ll see all year, maybe ever.”

The film’s cross-generational popularity hasn’t escaped the notice of Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer Camp. The longtime collaborators co-wrote the film – based on a character they created together – with Nick Paley, and Camp directed while Slate voiced the eponymous sleeve. Speaking to IndieWire at the New York Critics Circle Awards, both Slate and Camp explained why they think the film will resonate so well with older audiences.

“I think it might be because we all have a heart and a spirit inside us,” Slate said. “Whether you’re very young, very old, or somewhere in between, it feels so good when your sweet, tender heart beckons. And I think our film does that. You are never too old to be activated in this way.”

“I think Marcel is a character that people resonate with because he’s thriving in a world that wasn’t made for him,” Camp said. “And I think everyone knows that from a kid, because you’re literally too small for everything and everything is made for adults. And then we get older, and I know I was surprised that’s actually still the case as you get older. The world just wasn’t made for you, for more complicated or stranger reasons. And I always find Marcel very inspiring because it doesn’t frustrate him. He is neutral about everything. That’s how he sees life. He sees it as an obstacle, it’s not personal, just like the next obstacle, and he will overcome it, just like he overcome the last one in this endless series of obstacles he knows as life. And I think everyone can take away something really important from that.”

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Lindsay Lowe

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