I am a fan of animation. I am not one of those parents that thinks if it is animated it’s ok for kids. As a parent of younger children I struggle to find movies and TV shows for my kids to watch. They don’t watch alot of TV but we do have Saturday night movie night and occasionally Friday night movie night. My oldest has decided she doesn’t like “talking animal” movies so our choices have started to dwindle. I did some minor digging and found a strange little feature called My Life as a Zucchini. I got the movie and we decided to watch it…together…without knowing what the plot was.
The movie is about a young boy named Zucchini. His mother “really likes beer.” She sits in front of the television screaming at it while drinking. While off playing by himself he does something that upsets her and she leaves her television to give him a beating. Terrified, he slams a door as she approaches which causes her to fall and die. That is right, he kills his mother within the first 15 minutes of the film. Luckily, my girls were disinterested from the jump. While my wife and I were looking at the TV in wide-eyed disbelief, the girls were fighting over a blanket.
After the girls went to bed my wife and I finished the movie. It was completely inappropriate for my girls. The movie was really great though. It was fun and funny but it also had emotional weight. I didn’t breakdown crying like I do during Pixar movies but it was moving. The writing isn’t as polished and perfected for maximum emotional impact like a Pixar movie. Instead the scenes are more grounded in reality. Things work out for the characters but it gets bumpy along the way. The characters seem real. No one is too mean or just a bully because the movie needs a villain. The kids talk about sex in a silly uninformed way that rings true and when they are on a field trip an event takes place that is so well written and filmed(?) that it is still rattling around in my head days later.
The movie is great in a way that reminds me of the early independent movie boom. These orphans aren’t superheroes in the making, they are just kids. They all have personal tragedies but instead of focusing on their tragedies it focuses on them being kids and their relationships with one another.