As the credits roll and Pearl attempts to keep up the guise of happiness as she smiles into the camera for minutes on end, all I could think was Mia Goth is a star. The prequel to X Pearl was one of the most highly anticipated horror films of 2022, and boy, did it deliver. The film does what great all prequels should do, make the original better. By focusing on the character of Pearl, the old lady from X, the movie allows itself to delve into all of the life choices that lead her to where she ends up and helps the audience understand truly how crazy she is. From the opening frame to the end credits, the film is a master class on how to create a character study.
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On stars Marcel, a one-inch tall shell who is voiced by Jenny Slate and lives in a house with his grandma, Nanna Connie. The two are discovered when Dean, played by Dean Fleischer-Camp, books the home as an Airbnb. Inspired by the fantastical energy of Marcel, Dean begins to make documentary-style videos of the life of Marcel and Nanna Connie. As Dean films Marcel’s life, more and more is revealed about their past. The story uses the outlandish nature of a talking one-inch shell to craft a poignant message that almost anyone can relate to. They create a beautiful story about family and loss that is equal parts inspiring and melancholy, and it is done in such a way that, to me, makes it the perfect movie. Also, spoilers are ahead.
As the theater lights dim and opening credits begin, a simple black and white logo appear on the screen. Cutting across the dark screen are a few simple lines, gracefully darting and intersecting with each other before forming the name: A24. On the surface, it’s just one letter and two numbers. But as most movie fans have come to realize, this simplistic intro could very well precede their next favorite film.