If there’s one thing nobody can call I Lost My Body, a French animated film that was released pretty recently, it’s “Hollywood product”. The basic premise alone is the literal opposite of anything a studio executive might think of as “profitable”. A severed hand crawling around a city looking for its owner? Yeah, sure, that’ll make the big bucks in the box office. Gotta hand it to Netflix for not only picking it up, but also touting it as a “Netflix Original Movie”, though (shame they didn’t include the original French-language version with English subtitles along with the English-dubbed version I saw, but let’s not get greedy now). In fact, getting a subscription to that particular streaming giant just to watch this movie is well worth it, and that’s not something I say lightly.
As I already mentioned, I Lost My Body follows a severed hand as it journeys around Paris with all the abilities of a regular human being in search of its owner, Naoufel, whom it was tragically separated from. How did this happen, you may ask? Well, generously interspersed with the hand’s adventures are flashbacks to Naoufel’s life, in which we find out that he was a pizza delivery man who takes a job as a carpenter in order to secretly–and slightly creepily–get closer to the woman he really loves, Gabrielle.
Unfortunately, that part of the film kindadrags a bit in comparison to the endlessly entertaining and pulse-pounding scenes featuring the hand doing things such as clambering up shelves, fighting off various animals, drifting away on an umbrella, and–in a really sweet moment–even soothing a restless infant.That being said, though,I Lost My Bodyis an absolute narrative and visual marvel, filled with deepthemes and beautiful images that really shocked me with how unexpectedly powerful they were. If nothing else, the filmis probably the only oneyou will ever see that makes you ponder the metaphorical significance of a common house fly, and if that’s not a good a reason as any to watch it pronto, I don't know what is.
Note: One thing that especially surprised me aboutI Lost My Bodyis this: considering the morbid subject matter and TV-MA rating, I admittedly assumed that it would be filled with gratuitously gruesome violence.As it turned out, the only real grisly moment that does occur is the hand-severing we all knew was coming anyway, and–without going into any details for the sake of remaining spoiler-free–what was shown of it was actually pretty brief and relatively non-graphic (Princess Mononoke had much more graphic animatedgore, yet that passed with just a PG-13), so the only thing really givingthe film that particular rating would be theoccasional strong profanity and an incredibly crude drawing made by my least favorite character, Naoufel’s perv of a roommate. Believe me, other teens should be perfectly fine watching it–in fact, the film is highly recommended to them in particular so they can get a good grasp on what realanimation is like, not that mass-produced crap depressingly coming at a near-constant rate from Illumination Studios.