MOVIES THAT DON’T SUCK: ‘The Triplets of Belleville’ is beautifully animated, wonderfully absurd

Convincing someone to watch “The Triplets of Belleville” is almost as difficult as convincing someone to try sea eel.

“Yeah, it’s a little out there, exotic and slimy, but I promise it’s really good!”

Now try selling “The Triplets of Belleville” to your friends.

“It’s a dialogue-less, animated French film, but I promise it’s really good!”

See what I mean? From the outside, “The Triplets of Belleville” and eel really aren’t that alluring.

But if you’ve tried either, you know how wonderful they are.

So what makes this seemingly uninteresting, hard-to-approach film enjoyable?

For one, “The Triplets” has a vibrant plot.

In brief, it’s a chase movie, in which an extremely motivated French granny tries to retrieve her professional cyclist grandson after he’s been captured by the French mob.

It’s odd, but the absurdity is what drives the film. Every scene, and I mean every scene, is filled with absurdity.

To begin with, the cyclist grandson is comically lanky, to the point where he looks starved; his nose is longer than his face, and his thighs and calves are the size of giant balloons.

Not to mention, every sound any cyclist makes is always a horse sound. For example, when a cyclist is tired, the audience hears a horse’s snort.

Or take the Triplets of Belleville, three old women that end up helping the grandmother.

Every night, the Triplets get dinner, not by going to the grocery store, but by throwing German stick grenades into a city pond.

The result? Hundreds of frogs for  delicious shish kabobs—and tadpoles for dessert.

I could go on and on because the list of “out-there” scenes and characters is endless, but this isn’t to the film’s detriment. Again, the absurd scenes make the movie.

Even without dialogue, every moment is filled with something new, something interesting and something wacky.

On top of all that, the jazzy, irresistibly French, toe-tapping soundtrack is magnifique!

I can’t tell you how hard it was to resist the urge to pause the film to get up and dance.

Thus it’s no wonder that the film’s theme song, “Belleville Rendez-vous,” was nominated for an Oscar back in 2003.

But there’s more to this lovely film!

The charming animation is also absurd and beautiful.

The fanciful 1930s metropolis of Belleville is filled with its outrageously large high rises and steep streets. The city almost reminds me a bit of Dr. Seuss’s work.

Just writing about it all makes me want to watch it again.

So maybe instead of forcing “Belleville” down your friends’ throats, just let your unadventurous friends take a small bite.

In the end, they’ll be asking for seconds.

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