I Lost My Body: The best animated feature film of 2019
Review: This exquisite tale has Paris, melancholic flashbacks and swashbuckling adventures
What’s not to like? I Lost My Body has a gorgeous photorealistic hand-drawn animation, Dan Levy’s mesmerising score and a stellar voice cast
Film Title: I Lost My Body
Director: Jérémy Clapin
Starring: Dev Patel, Alia Shawkat, George Wendt
Running Time: 81 min
Having scored major prizes at Cannes and the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, writer-director Jérémy Clapin’s strikingly beautiful animated tale of a disembodied hand crawling across Paris in search of its owner was scooped up by Netflix.
Adapted from the book Happy Hand by Guillaume Laurant (who co-wrote Amélie and A Very Long Engagement with Jean-Pierre Jeunet), I Lost My Body concerns Naoufel (Dev Patel), a young Moroccan who moves to Paris. On his rounds as a pizza delivery boy, he meets and falls in love with a librarian named Gabrielle (Alia Shawkat). Being too shy to tell her, he instead borrows a lot of books, becomes an apprentice to her carpenter uncle (George Wendt), and, in a grand romantic gesture, builds her an igloo.
A playful chronology makes space for melancholic flashbacks to Naoufel’s childhood and for the swashbuckling adventures of the phantom appendage as it thrillingly hitches a ride with an unfortunate pigeon, fends off rats with a lighter, and zip glides on a clothes hanger and electrical wiring.
If that sounds macabre and odd, well, it often is, but it’s also achingly melancholic, deeply moving and meaningful; the hand’s lonely travails mirror Naoufel’s own sense of alienation and longing. Gorgeous photorealistic hand-drawn animation, Dan Levy’s mesmerising score, a stellar voice cast, and an unconventional denouement ensure that this is the best animated feature film of 2019.
I Lost My Body’s limited theatrical run is unlikely to keep pace with Frozen 2, but don’t be surprised if it pips its muscular Disney rivals come awards season.
Opens November 26th