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Western Animation / My Life as a Zucchini

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My Life as a Zucchini, originally titled My Life as a Courgette (Ma vie de Courgette) is a 2016 Stop Motion animated movie directed by Claude Barras and written by Céline Sciamma. The film is an adaptation of the 2002 novel Autobiographie d'une Courgette.

After the accidental death of his alcoholic mother, Icare, who prefers the name "Zucchini", which was his mother's nickname for him, is sent to live in an orphanage with other children his age. Zucchini initially struggles to cope in his new environment. However, with the aid of kind police officer Raymond, and his new friends at the orphanage, Zucchini begins to learn the meaning of trust and true love.

This film provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents:
    • Zucchini's mother is this, from what little we see of her. Her death is instigated when she comes at Zucchini in a drunken rage threatening to hurt him, and Zucchini's fearful reaction implies this isn't the first time it's happened.
    • Alice's unseen father is implied to have been this. The fact that Alice has a scar over her left eye can attest to this.
    • Nearly every other orphan are implied to have had these, given that all of them were taken from their parents due to potential neglect or abuse.
  • Accidental Murder: Zucchini unintentionally causes the death of his mother by knocking her down a flight of stairs after she attempts to come into his room to beat him.
  • Alcoholic Parent: Zucchini's mother and Simon's parents are this.
  • Animated Actors: The Stinger shows Zucchini being asked if he wants to be in the movie. He says he can identify with the role because his parents are divorced, but wants to change the name "Zucchini".
  • Babies Ever After: Two of the adults employed at the orphanage, Paul and Rosie, have a son named Anton who is born by the end of the movie.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Do not touch Zucchini's belongings.
    • Ahmed hates the police because his father was arrested. Downplayed with Simon, who also seems to dislike them, but it’s less severe, and he’s very chill with Raymond by the end.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Camille's aunt puts on a facade of being a kind, loving aunt when around adults, but shows her true colors as a psychotic abusive Jerkass when alone with Camille.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Zucchini and Camille are adopted by Raymond, but are forced to leave their friends at the orphanage behind, though Zucchini writes a letter to the orphanage children, reassuring them that he still loves them.
  • The Bully: Simon, at first.
  • Caught on Tape: When Camille's aunt appeals to the judge to allow her to gain custody over her, Camille uses a recorder given to her by Simon to record her aunt's earlier verbal abuse, destroying her bid for custody.
  • Cool Big Sis: Camille towards the other orphanage children, but particularly Alice.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: All of the kids in the orphanage have one:
    • Zucchini’s mother was an alcoholic and implied to be neglectful, given that we see Zucchini playing with her empty beer bottles instead of actual toys. She also may have been physically abusive, if her attempts to get up the stairs before Zucchini slams the entrance on her is anything to take note of.
    • Camille’s father shot her mother for an affair, and then shot himself. Afterwards, she was left with an emotionally abusive aunt.
    • Simon’s parents were drug addicts and implied to be negligent, given Simon’s habits for stealing and wanting attention.
    • Beatrice was taken into the orphanage after her mother was deported.
    • George’s mother seemed mentally unstable and likely either neglected George, or convinced him that doing bizarre things like drinking toothpaste was normal and healthy, even when it’s shown to make him very sick.
    • Ahmed was taken from his parents after his mom left his father, and his dad ended up in jail.
    • While not given much detail, whatever Alice’s father did to her was most likely severe abuse.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Simon ends becoming friends with Zucchini after he was beaten up by him.
  • Disappeared Dad: Zucchini's father abandoned the family when Zucchini was younger. This is what led to Zucchini's mother becoming a drunk.
  • Dramedy
  • Evil Aunt: Camille's aunt treats Camille like garbage, is mentioned to beat her, and is only trying to gain custody over her for child support cheques, not out of any genuine concern for her.
  • Happily Adopted: Zucchini and Camille at the end.
  • Harmful to Minors: When Camille's mother tried to leave her husband for another man, he shot her and then himself. Poor Camille saw the whole thing.
  • Hiding Behind Your Bangs: Alice's hair covers her left eye in order to hide her scar. Camille gently brushes the bangs aside, which encourages Alice to show her face more often.
  • Implied Rape: Simon mentions how Alice's dad was a really bad man. While it's very clear he physically abused her considering her scar, her quiet and withdrawn nature suggests he may have done more than just hit her.
  • Insistent Terminology: Icare insists on being referred to by his mother's nickname for him, Zucchini, rather than by his real name.
  • Ironic Echo: Camille's aunt tells her "You dug your own grave, silly girl". After Camille secretly tapes her aunt's rant and turns it into an Engineered Public Confession, the tape ends with that line, as if Camille is saying it back to her aunt.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Simon is abrasive and rude, but as Zucchini finds out, he's more emotionally guarded than mean.
  • Murder-Suicide: Camille’s father murdered both her mother and himself, with Camille seeing it all.
  • Never Had Toys: Icare plays with the empty beer cans his alcoholic mother drops all over the apartment. Asides that, he has only a little kite he did himself, with a drawing representing his Disappeared Dad as a superhero.
  • Orphanage of Love: Fontaine's is a nice, safe place to live with friendly caretakers who genuinely want what's best for the kids.
  • Parental Abandonment: Zucchini's dad abandoned him and his mother years ago.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Raymond the police officer and the adults at the orphanage count as this in regard to the kids.
  • Self-Made Orphan: An unintentional example—Zucchini accidentally causes his mother's death when he knocks her down a flight of stairs in a panic when she attempts to beat him.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: Zucchini says this almost word for word in regard to Camille's luminous green eyes.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Béa's mother was deported, and she desperately wants to see her again. Every time a car pulls up at the orphanage, she rushes to the front yard in case it's her mother. Ironically, when her mother does come, Béa is so shocked that she runs back inside.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: The head of the orphanage is forced to relay this to Zucchini when he asks to go home to his mother.

Alternative Title(s): My Life As A Courgette