I Wanna Linger

Note: Marcel the Shell’s 4K release is exclusive to A24’s shop.

To the scale of a one-inch shell, housed in an AirBnB, Marcel the Shell still finds a worldly perspective, speaking truths on positivity, emotional purity, and longing for connection. It’s among the most absurd ideas – a faux documentary on a single eyed, soft spoken shell – yet it’s a resonant piece of oddball indie cinema that’s too joyful to ever miss.

Maybe it’s the voice, that of actress Jenny Slate, who speaks in such hushed, shy tones as to imbue this goofy Marcel creature with infinite personality. Or, his awkward gait, bouncing around the home, using bathtub hairs as ropes, and always smiling. Consider too his selfless empathy, worried about the documentary’s director and his co-dependent Nana Connie more than himself.

Marcel the Shell is strange and weird, yet wholly universal in representing the things that make us better

More than Marcel, this creative team builds an entire universe of miniature living things who exist and function beneath humans, but never considering themselves as lesser beings. They just are, binging 60 Minutes episodes for their Lesley Stahl fix, and through their internet videos, becoming sensations.

Ridiculous, absurd, and ludicrous, the framing makes Marcel the Shell work. At no point does the film become self-aware or mocking; it’s completely dependent on a crisp, real tonality that quickly foregoes any trepidation about Marcel himself to build an utterly compelling existence around this benign critter.

Through Marcel, a philosophy forms, based entirely on togetherness and a sense of one’s place. Not just a place as in this home, but a place on the planet, and the purposes we serve. Mutually beneficial relationships between Marcel’s Nana and worms set the framework for what turns into a wide-in-scope adventure to find Marcel’s family. Lesser films do this with wild action scenes – to think of Illumination turning this into something like the Minions – but not Marcel the Shell. The touching serenity stems purely from the authenticity, from which Marcel the Shell never abandons, not even for an easy gag.

Yes, Marcel the Shell is strange and weird, yet wholly universal in representing the things that make us better. Just a bizarre species of living… stuff, Marcel and company lighten people’s days with their stories and quests. Marcel’s only purpose is reconnecting with his family and friends, but to us, it’s all about understanding how to care for anyone – or anything.


Given a sweet, charming, pastel-esque aesthetic, Marcel the Shell isn’t a movie of grand contrast. Dolby Vision can only do so much, and mostly in the brightness department. Rarely does the imagery use pure black.

Color keeps a mildly warmed tinge going throughout. Saturation is low by design, even paled, but attractively graded. Fruit and greenery make a definite statement at their peaks.

A grain filter sits over the digitally-sourced image, easily resolved and even convincing as actual film. Finished at full 4K, the clarity can impress along with the detail. Marcel’s model, from the shell texture to the dirty shoes, swell with definition.


Surprisingly robust Dolby Atmos tracks widely around the room, capturing Marcel’s movement as he passes or ziplines around. Doors close and thunder roars in specific channels. Accuracy is superb, and sounds panning overhead happens regularly.

Marcel the Shell clearly isn’t bursting with explosions, but Marcel’s tiny world makes everything rumble. Footsteps slam into the ground around him. Storms shake the room, and music peaks with a substantial thump.


Director Dean Fleischer Camp, star Jenny Slate, and writer Nick Paley chat over a commentary track. A great making-of feature goes deep into the unique production. Original shorts and still galleries follow that.

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras


Equal parts creative, adorable, absurd, and meaningful, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is a unique modern classic.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 36 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:

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