When his alcoholic mother dies in a freak accident, nine-year-old old Courgette (Schlatter) is sent to a group home for children. Raymond (Vuillermoz), the policeman in charge of his case, grows fond of him and visits him often. At first Courgette is targeted by tough kid Simon (Jaccoud) but soon settles in. When a new girl named Camille (Murat) arrives at the home, the future starts to look even brighter.
In this colorful charmer adapted from a young adult novel by Gilles Paris, Swiss director Barras uses simple stop-motion animation to tell a touching, textured story about life’s hard knocks. The Claymation characters are wonderfully expressive, leaving no doubt as to the emotional burden these forgotten children carry. Barras sugar-coats very little; the film inhabits a world of tragedy, yet the director reminds us that love and family can be found in the most surprising places.