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I Lost My Body

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
I Lost My Body Movie Poster Image
Inspired, grownup animated tale; language, some grim images.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 81 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Shows the courage, determination, and resourcefulness necessary to become whole after tragedy. Cleverly, and with compassion, portrays the renewal of hope, spirit, and heart.

Positive Role Models & Representations

A severed hand (the movie's "hero") is brave, resourceful, and driven to succeed at all costs. Another leading character slowly finds his way to move forward after all seems lost. French and Middle Eastern characters.

Violence

Some bloody and disturbing animated images: a human hand is severed in an accident; a bird is strangled; a rolling eyeball is squished; rats face death by fire. Blood splatters in multiple scenes. A boy on a bike is hit by a car. A fatal car accident. A fist fight in a bar.

Sex

In a brief shot, characters are interrupted during sex. A drawing of a penis.

Language

Profanity and swearing includes: "f--k," "s--t," "crap," "pissed off," "a--hole," "goddamn," "take a dump." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A sequence in a bar shows a young man drinking to excess out of sadness and frustration. Characters smoke cigarettes; a cigar.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that I Lost My Body is a French animated film based on the book Happy Hand by Guillaume Laurant, one of the screenwriters on the project, along with director Jeremy Clapin. In the unconventional, engaging story, a severed hand's journey is integrated with the tale of its owner in both present and past. Viewers can expect sad events, warmhearted moments, as well as some macabre, grisly scenes (a bird is strangled; an eyeball is smashed; blood-splatters). The movie contains profanity (i.e., "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "goddamn"), and a drawing of a penis. A couple's very brief sexual activity is interrupted. One character, in a despondent mood, drinks in a bar, gets drunk, then gets into a bar fight. This unorthodox, award-winning Netflix movie is available in English and French (with English subtitles).

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What's the story?

A brief opening reveals the tragic separation of a young man from his hand in I LOST MY BODY. From there, the camera follows The Hand as it escapes from a hospital and begins a journey to find its owner. Intercut with The Hand's treacherous quest is the story of Naoufel (Dev Patel in the English-language version), The Hand's owner, a young Parisian of Middle Eastern descent in the time period leading up to the dismemberment. Flashbacks within Naoufel's tale show a happy child with loving parents, as well as his life-changing move to Paris after his parents' death. The Hand is faced with perilous situations as it moves across Paris, while Naoufel, in the recent past, is faced with an uncertain future and a longing for a girl with whom he's fallen in love from afar. As Naoufel's story moves closer to the fateful accident, The Hand's odyssey nears its end. Ultimately, time and place converge to a reaffirm what it means to be "whole," in all regards.

Is it any good?

This French adventure, which moves through an unromanticized Paris, is as unexpected as it is whimsical and beautiful; viewers who let themselves be drawn into its magic won't be disappointed. I Lost My Body's animation is wonderful. The music, by Dan Levy, is pitch-perfect. The movie won multiple awards at film festivals, topped by the Critics' Week Grand Prize in Cannes 2019, the first time an animated feature has been so honored. Mature teens who value ingenuity and brave filmmaking will most likely find it very special. (Note: In a second viewing -- both French-language and English-language versions were screened -- the film is even more resonant.)

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the title of this movie. Why did the filmmakers choose to title it I Lost My Body, rather than "I Lost My Hand?" Why is the title significant?

  • The filmmakers brought all three linked story lines (the Hand's journey, Naoufel's past, Naoufel's present) together at the end of the movie. Did you feel satisfied that the story was complete? Were all of your questions answered? Why or why not? Do you sometimes like having more to think about when a film is over? 

  • Find out the meaning of the word "anthropomorphism." Which character in the movie was anthropomorphized? How did that affect your connection with that character?

Movie details

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