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Western Animation / The Suicide Shop

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"Has your life been a failure? Let's make your death a success."
- The Suicide Shop motto

The Suicide Shop (originally: Le Magasin Des Suicides) is a 2012 Black Comedy Animated Musical based on the book of the same name by the French author and film-maker Jean Teulé. It's about the Tuvaches, the family that runs the afore-mentioned shop in the distant future after the "Big One" where life has become meaningless for most, leading to them seeking out the Suicide Shop, where they have a method to kill yourself for any budget. However, when their youngest son, Alan is born, they discover that he is not like the others...


The Suicide Shop includes examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation: Marilyn attempting to inject poison into her veins to gain a Kiss of Death is not present here, nor is Vincent's anorexia and chronic pain. (See Adapted Out below)
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • In the book, Alan is described as having curly blond hair, but in here, he has spiky, ginger hair.
    • Vincent was described in the original novel as having a beard of reddish hair. Here, he is clean-shaven and has brown hair.
  • Adapted Out:
    • The film cuts several clients of the shop found in the book, such as a pre-teen girl that tries to kill herself with poisonous candies because her mother took away her phone, and an old man that dies laughing upon seeing an absolutely "ridiculous" mask (which turns out to be his reflection in a mirror).
    • The film dispenses with the book's scene of Alan's parents trying to dispel his optimism by having him join a suicide bomb squad at Monaco.
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    • Marilyn's unborn child is left out, as the film ends shortly after first meeting her significant other and before we even see them marrying.
    • Marilyn character was at the core of an entire subplot cut for the movie. In the novel, for her birthday and since she felt "useless", her parents bought her a special product that would make her kiss venomous and they opened a deadly kissing booth in the shop so that clients could die from a "Death Kiss". This helped Marilyn become a proud Big Beautiful Woman and opening up to her true beauty and sexiness, but turned out sour when she found true love and understood she would never been able to kiss him. All turned out fine however thanks to Alan's meddling.
    • The entire character of Vincent Tuvache was simplified for the movie and his subplot in the novel completely dropped. In the movie he is simply a morbid and complaining teenager with little personality or involvment in the plot. In the novel, he was the most loved of the Tuvache children due to being a self-destructive Mad Artist. Suffering from anorexia (understand here a deep hate of food) and painful chronic headaches, he spent his days locked up in his room, experiencing awful nightmares and building disturbing projects (one entire chapter is centered around a maquette he makes for an Amusement Parkof Doom centered around suicide). Alan's influence in his life made him deal with his nightmares, gain a love for food and learn about things such as "jokes" and "fun", until he became a cheerful, chubby and jolly young man using his art to help people laugh. All of this was dropped for the movie, though there are remnants of the novel characterization - such as the dark and morbid drawings Vincent makes in the movie.
    • The young man Marilyn falls in love with was also much more developped in the novel. There, he was the caretaker of the local cemetery and had frequent interactions with the Tuvaches thanks to them being invited several times to the funerals of their clients. He also had a name, Ernest (which was one of the reasons Mishima gladly welcomed him in the family).
  • Ambiguously Brown: Mishima, in a sense. His name is unambiguously Japanese compared to the relatively Western names of his wife and children and seppuku seems to be his preferred method of suicide, but this could be chalked up as a reference to his namesake.
  • Animated Adaptation: It's an animated film based on a novel.
  • Animated Musical: The animated film has a lot of musical numbers.
  • Apathetic Citizens: As a result of the decreasing value of life caused by a world suffering from the severe ravages of climate change, either the people have gone numb or are too depressed themselves to care about the suicides happening in plain sight.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: "You, how would you do it?" A customer to Lucrèce about how would she commit suicide. This just after talking to her kids why they have to resist the temptation of suicide.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: The Tuvaches as a whole do genuinely love each other, best exemplified by Lucrece and Mishima's actually pretty healthy marriage and everyone attempting to discourage Mishima from killing Alan, who cries Tears of Joy when he realizes Alan didn't actually kill himself.
  • Bait-and-Switch: As described in Interrupted Suicide below, a citizen pulls a man off the road before he gets run over only to later suggest that he goes to the titular shop.
  • Big Ol' Unibrow: Marilyn has a huge unibrow as a little girl. In the present day, they are conveniently obscured by her blunt bangs.
  • Black Comedy: Hell yes, this film has a lot of dark humor. The intro features a view of suicides in various locations of Paris, with the delightfully ironic 1930's French song Y'a d'la joie (roughly: "There's joy!") as a musical background.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Weirdly enough, for a film where every suicide method is mentioned, including the rather messy ones, not much blood is seen. Though it doesn't make the actual deaths any less macabre.
  • Bowdlerisation: Possibly. The above description about the distant future and "the Big One" mostly describes the original book while this version merely implies it. In fact, it seems to be set in the present era, which you could justify as a Crapsack World.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Thankfully it's only subtext, but Alan sure finds his sister pretty... He even peeps on her dancing naked in her room (with all his friends no less!) and draws pictures of her naked. It mildly freaks out their mom when she finds out.
  • Bungled Suicide: A customer failed to hang himself when his noose snapped. He's officially the last customer of the Suicide Shop once he ingested a poisoned crepe secretly given to him by Mishima, the shop itself having been converted to a crepe restaurant by the time he came back.
  • Canon Foreigner: Alan's friends, who are just as happy as he is, are not in the original book. It's assumed they're added to help him with his plan to cheer up his family and the entire city.
  • Crapsack World: The world would have to be a horrible place if so many people are depressed enough to want to kill themselves.
  • Cheerful Child: Alan is constantly smiling and isn't as gloomy and dour as everyone else in town. His parents even tried to get him to frown. He is also in a group of equally cheerful boys from school.
  • Children Are Innocent: Alan sees nothing sexual about his sister getting changed and dancing around her room naked, unlike his friends, it's just that he likes to watch her dance.
  • Chubby Mama, Skinny Papa: The trope of the thin father and obese mother is invoked with Mishima and Lucrèce.
  • Compliment Backfire: Alain calling Marylin "pretty" actually drove her to tears while denying it and reassuring herself she is ugly.
  • Death Seeker: Marilyn and Vincent both wish to die (the former, mostly), but their parents won't let them kill themselves. The parents are also wishing to die, but feel they must stay alive so they can help the other people in their town who are suicidal.
  • Dirty Kid: Alan might fall into Children Are Innocent when he invited his friends to watch his sister dance naked in her room, but his friends certainly don't.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: A very dark example. While Mishima is describing his dilemma to the psychiatrist, the scene suddenly shifts to stylized inkblots portraying his troubled mind and various methods of suicide backed by distorted dialogue heard in previous scenes.
  • Driven to Suicide: A lot of people end up committing suicide in the film for various reasons.
  • Dr. Jerk: Despite giving him a straightforward diagnosis, Mishima's therapist gleefully sings to him as to how he makes a profit off of suffering like his and how life is horrible.
  • Everyone Has Standards: The Tuvaches might make a lving selling methods of suicide, but they draw the line at actually assisting in the dirty deed.
  • Fat and Skinny: Marilyn and Vincent as teenagers, with the former being rather rotund and the latter being lanky.
  • Film of the Book: It's a film based on a book.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Breton for Marilyn's hand in marriage before even knowing her name.
  • Goth: Marilyn's make up and the color scheme of her clothes resemble one. It's possible she becomes a Perky Goth when she hooks up with the Breton.
  • Ghost Reunion Ending: Several of the characters who have committed suicide in the film return as ghosts in the film's last musical number.
  • Gratuitous German: Mishima's therapist counts to 3 in German before starting his song.
  • Happily Ever After: Breton crepes for everyone!
  • Heel Realization: Mishima when he went with Mr. Calmel to see him happily commit suicide, and discovering he actually was happy before.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Subverted. The first onscreen attempted suicide in the movie (in which a down-on-his-luck man crosses a busy road in order to get run over) is stopped by a witness and gives him a What the Hell, Hero? about how foolish he was for attempting suicide in public because it's against the law and it might not work. He then suggests he makes one last visit to the Suicide Shop.
    • A more discreet example. When asked to follow a customer who was about to drown himself near their home, Alan sawed the chain in half—without the customer's knowledge—attached to the guy's leg where the cinder block would've pulled him to his watery grave upon dropping it.
  • Love at First Sight: Marilyn and the Breton fall in love when they first meet.
  • Meaningful Name: All three of the Tuvache children are named after suicides.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Alan's teenage sister Marilyn, though dramatically lacking in the area of self-esteem, gets to be this as she starts exploring her femininity. Alan and his friends approve.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • After his appointment with Mr. Calmel, Mishima starts breaking down over the fact that he's basically assisted in killing people, which begins to wear down on his mind once it comes into conflict with his occupation and view on life. He also briefly goes into Villainous BSoD when he thinks he's killed Alan.
    • In the final musical number, all the people who committed suicide come back as ghosts and express their regret over throwing their lives away upon seeing how happy everyone is now thanks to the Tuvaches' new crepe restaurant.
  • No Name Given: There are several nameless characters in the film.
    • Alan's friends who are simply credited as "Alan's friends (Les Copains d'Alan)".
    • Every client of the suicide shop is credited as their respective roles.
    • Mishima's doctor gets a whole music number to himself, but no name.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: The therapist Mishima visits has a much more simplified design compared to the detailed and very stylized populace. His large round head, small face, and rubber-hose limbs wouldn't look out of place in Adventure Time.
  • Not So Stoic: Alan's attempt to lighten everyone's mood does reveal that the children actually feel that there's nothing they could do because they're just kids and lament that they might end up as orphans due to the high suicide rate. Finding out about this causes Alan to come up with The Plan.
  • Offing the Offspring: Mishima strangles Alan to death in a Daydream Surprise and then attempts to shorten his life by getting him to start smoking. After being driven insane, he attempts to murder Alan directly with a Tachi.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The movie manages to incorporate several events that do happen in the book and the dialogue exchanges are more or less the same, but they take place in different intervals in order to streamline the storytelling. A good example is the Suicide Shop turning into a restaurant of sorts. While it happens immediately by the film's end, the change was much more gradual in the book. And it occurs more or less without Mishima's consent.
    • Both this and the book describe it being set in a near-apocalyptic future but this is more exclusive to the book where the state of the world is described in detail via news reports while the movie itself is set squarely in a French city where the cost of living is high and so is the suicide rate with no further explanation. It can go both ways.
  • Running Gag: Done three times, no less. Marilyn, as a little girl, being thrown off of her chair whenever her dad suddenly opens the cellar door.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: The hopeless suicidal man who we first see visiting the suicide shop and the body count just rises from there. He even gets a song number of his own before he does it.
  • Skewed Priorities: Played for Laughs at points. Mishima's reaction to a man he just sold a bullet to only running a few yards away from the shop before putting it in his head? Angrily comment that he told him not to do it on the public road before falling back asleep.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Alan's friend's uncle—called Uncle Dom—helps Alan and the kids with the car that blasts out electronic dance music from the car so loud and powerful, it destroys every gear in the shop. The ensuing chaos also causes Marilyn and Breton to share a dance and fall in love.
    • Speaking of whom, Breton's crepes also help in transforming the shop into a restaurant by the end of the movie despite just appearing by the latter third into the movie.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Alain actually commits suicide in the book, implied to be because he feels he has nothing more to do. The movie has him live so he can see everyone enjoy their newfound lust for life.
  • Splash of Color: Downplayed, but in the gray and somber city, the store is the most colorful place.
  • The Stoic: Most of the citizens, which even reaches apathetic citizen levels. Same can be assumed for the children while the Tuvache children ride the bus to school, they couldn't care less about the racket Alan and his friends were making in the back.
  • Tears of Remorse: Mishima when Alan jumps off the building. Turns to Tears of Joy when he sees Alan survived.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted. Mishima sees a therapist after his suicide attempt, not that it helps much.
  • Tone Shift: Compared to the rather bleak humor characterizing the first two thirds of the movie, its cheerful grand finale comes off as incredibly light-hearted.
  • True Art Is Angsty: In-Universe. Lucrèce criticizes Alan's art for portraying their family happy so she shows him an example of Vincent's drawing (an overly macabre, shadowy graveyard scene of a hangman tree containing a body) and calls it "pretty" because it's sad.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Alan. He wants to get rid of the city's suicides and stop his family from assisting it, so the best option is to destroy it with his friends, knowing that (at the point) it's the Tuvache family's only source of income and their store for multiple generations. He even says in his song that if it bothers people, to just deal with it for "the good mood is on its way."
  • We Will Have Euthanasia in the Future: It's in the title.
  • When She Smiles: Marilyn is the first of the Tuvaches to be reformed. Seeing Marilyn smile is what starts Lucrèce's own reformation.
  • White Sheep: Alan is looked down on by his melancholy family for his cheerful nature.


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