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Movie Review: 'I Lost My Body' Illustrates The Beauty Of Animation

Each year, in amongst the annual Pixar and Dreamworks entries for the Best Animated Feature award, there’s always one or two nominees that pretty much no one has ever heard of. Usually they’re from outside the U.S., and usually there’s almost no way for most of us to see them.

But, there’s reason to hope this might be changing. This year’s film that fits the bill, the French movie I Lost My Body, is available on Netflix, indicating the opportunities to see some of these may be increasing.

Animation, of course, can be so compelling because you can do literally anything you can imagine, and you can tell stories you simply couldn’t tell in the same way otherwise. I Lost My Body opens with a severed human hand escaping a medical storage facility and making a break for it. The hand runs along the floor, out the window, and gets into any number of perilous situations. Eventually, we begin to have flashbacks to the life of a young man, and we assume this might be his hand, though what has happened, and where the hand is headed, we don’t know.

We do, however, have our theories, none of them good, and this gives the entire film an undercurrent of aching sadness. We see the man meet a woman and make decisions good and bad, while cutting back to the hand as it searches… for what? And what exactly happened? We fear the worst.

In a technical sense, I Lost My Body could have been live action with computer generated effects, but really, that wouldn’t work. I was surprised by how emotionally invested I became in the well-being of a disembodied hand, and this could only be achieved through the beauty of the animation, and the world it creates. I know people who simply won’t give these films a shot, saying “I don’t like cartoons,” and to each their own, I guess. But shutting yourself off from truly unique worlds seems to me to be a bit of self harm, and the fact that we have more access to them now should be celebrated.

Fletcher Powell has worked at KMUW since 2009 as a producer, reporter, and host. He's been the host of All Things Considered since 2012 and KMUW's movie critic since 2016. Fletcher is a member of the Critics Choice Association.