Review: Netflix animated film I Lost My Body is sweet, sad and complex

Film about a severed hand searching for its owner in wintry Paris is meaningful and melancholy


I LOST MY BODY (Jérémy Clapin). 81 minutes. Available to stream on Netflix Friday (November 29). Rating: NNNN


The pitch for the animated Netflix feature I Lost My Body – a severed hand looks for its owner in wintry Paris – sounds either ghoulish or absurd, doesn’t it? Maybe even both at once?

But somehow, amazingly, director/co-writer Jérémy Clapin has taken that premise and made it both meaningful and melancholy. It’s sweet and sad and complex, using that disembodied hand as the locus of a tale of survival and desire that spans decades. Go figure.

Originally produced in French, and arriving on Netflix with an English dub track featuring Dev Patel, Alia Shawkat and George Wendt, I Lost My Body intercuts the hand’s efforts to get back to its owner with another story: the tale of Naoufel (Patel), a pizza delivery boy who talks his way into an apprenticeship with a woodworker (Wendt) in order to get close to the man’s niece, Gabrielle (Shawkat).

Co-writer Guillaume Laurant gave us Amélie, which similarly spun a magic-reality romantic fantasy around a core of loneliness, and there’s something deeply sad at the centre of this film, whose traumatized central characters are prepared to do almost anything to make a connection. (The hand isn’t above violence, strangling an animal in its very first moments of sentience, while Naoufel’s attempts to woo Gabrielle are disingenuous at best and dishonest at worst.)

That we can still hope they find happiness, or at least peace, is a minor triumph, and one worth appreciating as the film makes its way to a genuinely moving conclusion.

@normwilner

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