‘Memoir of a Snail’ Review: Adam Elliot Spins a Series of Unfortunate Events Into a Stop-Motion Heart-Tugger

A Memoir of a Snail by an Amateur Malacologist

Sarah Snook Tries to Move on in First 'Memoir of a Snail' Trailer

A Call to All Snail Researchers

Amateur malacologists! “Memoir of a Snail” is the latest offering from Adam Elliot, the stop motion director who won an Academy Award for “Harvie Krumpet”. A chance to explore all types and sizes of snails unfolds through this film. In it, Gracie Puddle (pronounced as puddle), who collects gastropods is introduced. Gracie’s troubled childhood – characterized by bullying, orphanhood and being handed over to swingers in Canberra to be raised, led her into seclusion.

Elliot’s new film fits neatly into the genre of adult films about outcast children. This follows his Sundance opener 15 years ago titled “Mary and Max”. The Australian auteur still maintains his unique, dark and surprisingly moving storytelling style. Also like Edward Gorey’s works, Elliot uses almost monochromatic colors that create an exceptional look for his movies. His characters often gaze back at the audience, giving them school picture day poses just like Wes Anderson films. Moreover, Elliot’s humor which resembles that of John Waters is devilish and audacious as it ranges from disabilities to bizarre sexual fetishes such as masturbating in court by a homeless judge or making one’s wife fat with milkshakes and microwave sausages.

Dark Yet Poignant Themes

“Memoir of a Snail” may have child characters but it is clearly made for adults. Consequently, this movie has both melancholic implications concerning mental illness making it humorous; however this does not take away its deeply emotional aspect either. By concentrating on these intricate mature issues, Elliot ensures that his viewers are absorbed into the successes and failures of the players rather than simply entertained. Adam Elliot takes us deep into a world where snails intersect with human quirks in a darkly humorous way through his film “Memoir of a Snail”. It is one of the important contributions to adult animation by Adam Elliot, another thoughtful and visually distinct storyteller.

According to Gracie (voiced by Sarah Snook of Succession), “dad would always say that childhood was like being drunk, everyone remembers what you did except you.” Nonetheless, Gracie disagrees with her father who is an alcoholic, her childhood memories are still fresh on her mind and she never let them fade away. She can still remember vividly her deep relationship with Gilbert, her twin brother played by Kodi Smit-McPhee, as well as the teasing she received from bullies due to having a cleft palate. The more she was bullied, the more she withdrew into herself depicted literally as Gracie encases herself within a giant gastropod for the school yard sequences by director Adam Elliot.

Snail Animation and Screenwriting

While the splendid stop motion animation of “Memoir of a Snail” is likely to attract most attention, the film itself is essentially a testament to screenwriting. Although Elliot may be taking it lightly by signing his name as both writer and director in this part, it doesn’t mean that we should not take this part seriously because there is much more than just jokes here. It would be clever to call Memoir of a snail a very long story. Therefore, one can say that the viewers are welcome to plunge into observing deep layers of the text though the author does not really think so about it.

Memoir of a Snail' Review: A Droll Stop-Motion Heart-Tugger

The movie is full of continuous narrations from Gracie who tries to find words for her withdrawal from society in an eloquent manner mixed with childlike naiveté. This narration provides insight into how her mother’s obsession with snails affected her life as she was growing up. However all these years she had been living in world surrounding by snails because when Gracie was still young she became interested in those animals due to her mom’s fascination towards them.

Gracie’s mom had a huge impact on her life through passion for snails which was unending, since early childhood Gracie was fascinated by spiral little creatures finding solace and interest in their lives. See how this link with slugs appears few times in the book as they embody her running away from cruelty-filled world. In my opinion, this symbolic relationship with slimy animals highlights a large theme throughout the work where such moments as waking up at night after seeing nightmares acts like windows into Gracie’s soul.

A Unique Storytelling Approach

Elliot tells stories differently; his way has its own exclusivity which makes us feel touched by his storytelling techniques. The wall to wall narrative combined with striking images through stop motion animation creates an immersive experience for audiences. Graceful, sad and charming at the same time, Gracie’s tale prompts spectators to consider the intricacies of childhood and how early experience continues to affect one throughout life. Elliot use of humor alongside heavy themes gives this film an extra edge.

Adam Elliot’s “Memoir of a Snail” is not only a reflective intimate story but also a visual pleasure. Through her eyes, he creates a world where innocent fascination snails seem a relief from children’s pains. Narrated by Sarah Snook in the most naturalistic way possible, her journey is one that will resonate with anyone who has ever felt like hiding in their own shell. That said, the movie manages to stand out among other stop motion works, thanks to its technical brilliance as well as thoughtful script which explores every bit of growing up and finding oneself.

Gracie’s Escape into the World of Snails

Gracie found solace in the universe of snails when life became more difficult for her. She was lost in books and surrounded herself with snail paraphernalia, collecting everything from porcelain figures to music boxes and even novelty condoms, this obsession served as both comfort and coping mechanism for her.

Teaser Trailer

On our first encounter with Gracie we see she is wearing an old knit hat adorned with ping-pong ball eyes on bendy stalks. She stands at Pinky’s deathbed an elderly friend; Pinky talks through Jacki Weaver in a throaty voice that captures perfectly what it means for someone who got married numerous times yet never managed staying put down long enough. The first character we are introduced to is Pinky who used be a stripper but now has died. In showing that, Gracie’s pet guinea pig have more sex than she does, this film deals straightforwardly with issues of sex and death.

Honoring Pinky’s Dying Wish

Agreeing to fulfill Pinky’s dying wish, Gracie takes her ashes down to the vegetable garden, and also releases the jar of slugs which she has kept for many years. In the subsequent one and half hours, Gracie shares about herself and tells a story of why she was so much obsessed in these slimy mollusks. Throughout the movie, Gracie reveals why she is quite taken with snails. Gilbert and Gracie’s mother was a malacologist (a scientist who studies mollusks), this steered her interest when she was still young. As her life gets harder, she goes deeper into her snail obsession and starts finding different snail-oriented things that help surround her.

Additionally there is “Memoir of a Snail” which adds to the recent vogue of snails in stop-motion animation such as “Marcel the Shell With Shoes On” or those in last year’s sequel to ‘Chicken Run’. The film uses these creatures to explore Gracie’s inner world and her way of dealing with life’s challenges.

Building Unlikely Relationships

Gracie struggles to make friends but cherishes few relationships such as that with Gilbert who is a twin brother. Both Gilbert and Grace have design features quite similar to Tim Burton’s vision of “Peanuts” characters – short squat figures with curly black hair, dark circles under their eyes. They could be called outsiders in another movie – Gilbert an emerging pyromaniac given his depressive tendencies while Gracie is filled up by social fears. Nevertheless, Elliott celebrates their unconventionalities that are mirrored by grown ups within their lives who seem equally eccentrically imperfect towards them. These adults openly exhibit their oddness through pockmarked faces and abnormal behaviors thus making children realize how weird they can be.

The story takes a darker turn with the death of Gilbert and Gracie’s father. A Parisian street performer, their father’s life was dramatically altered after a drunk driver accident made him paraplegic. After his demise, both twins are sent to foster homes that are scattered on opposite sides of Australia; the peninsula where they live is far from having any foster homes. She ends up living with nudist foster parents who fortunately for her do not bother her much so that she can have some peace. Unfortunately, Gilbert does not get as lucky as his friend and he is placed in a family of extreme religious fanatics who view his arsonism as work of devil.

Intricate Details of “Memoir of a Snail”

What makes watching “Memoir of a Snail” fun is all the rich details it has. Elliot has an exceptional eye for choosing those unusual moments in life that give authenticity to his characters. These details make Gracie and Gilbert’s experiences more relatable and true to life than many live action characters. The way Elliot captures these nuances helps viewers connect with the story on a deeper level, appreciating the complexity of the characters and their unique circumstances.

Adam Elliot’s films, such as “Harvie Krumphel” and “Mary and Max,” do not merely represent an acquired taste; they have very specific sensibility that could be restrictive. Nevertheless, his approach is likely to strike a chord with all those who were ever ostracized or mocked because they were different from others. Instead, he celebrates what other people think is ugly and clumsy about a person finding poetic ways of turning these negative features into strength.

Celebrating Differences

Elliot’s movies highlight the beauty in what society would often brand as defects. Thus, by emphasizing on some specific qualities of characters that often go unnoticed elsewhere, he reclaims those traits as sources of strength and individuality. His storytelling is helped by the presence of incredible voice work provided by famous faces like Nick Cave and Eric Bana who assume minor but pivotal parts.Another interesting aspect that defines this movie is perhaps its tone setting score composed by Elena Kats-Chernin which adds more emotional depth to narrative.

Adam Elliot talks claymation Memoir of a Snail with Sarah Snook

Sometimes it may feel like there are extraneous elements in any of Elliot’s films such as those we take for granted every day, but their resurfacing at the end reveals how thoughtful they are about creating emotions. He can make even little seemingly insignificant things become significant towards the realization of his story’s emotional arc. This capable narration keeps viewers so engrossed in Plasticine characters that they soon forget where they come from or how carefully each piece has been fitted together.

The Magic of Stop Motion Animation

There is something truly magical about stop motion animation, absolutely free from CG (computer-generated) effects, an art that Elliot has mastered. Consequently, he ensures a realistic world feels tactile due to application of materials like cellophane for fire or use sexual lubricant for tears. Thus, this traditional form of animation gives the movie an authentic and quaint feel that resonates deeply with the viewers. Don’t be surprised if “Memoir of a Snail” has you shedding real tears in your seat, moved by the poignant and heartfelt story it tells.


In summary, “Memoir of a Snail” by Adam Elliot is a portrayal of what sets people apart from each other. Thus, through his unique storytelling and mastery of stop motion animation, Elliot presents the audience with another opportunity to identify beauty where it isn’t expected. The film’s thoughtful narrative, bolstered by a talented voice cast and an vivid score, ensures that its emotional impact is both profound and lasting. By embracing the very traits that make his characters stand out, Elliot creates a narrative that is not only visually stunning but also deeply moving and interesting.

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