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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that I Lost My Body is a French animated film based on Guillaume Laurant's book Happy Hand. In this unconventional but engaging story, a severed hand's journey is integrated with the tale of its owner in both the present and past. Expect both sad events and warmhearted moments, as well as some macabre, grisly scenes (a bird is strangled, an eyeball is smashed, blood splatters). There's profanity ("f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "goddamn," etc.), 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, becomes drunk, then gets into a bar fight. This unorthodox, award-winning movie is available in both English and French (with English subtitles).
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?
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