Press "Enter" to skip to content

Triplettes is triple the fun for viewers

Mills College Weekly

Les Triplettes de Belleville, an animated film by French
director Sylvain Chomet, is definitely different than anything else
you’ve likely seen-in fact, I’m not really sure how to describe it.
What I can best say is that if you are in the mood for a different
kind of film, and tired of watching animation for children, or
animation that involves giant-eyed heroes and heroines out to save
the world from yet another merciless danger of some kind, then this
is it.

An elderly woman and her overweight-and-ever-loyal hound dog,
Bruno (the only character with a name) go out on an adventure to
Belleville (where the Statue of Liberty is found, and where
grotesquely obese people wear “I Love Big” t-shirts) to find her
kidnapped grandson, a bicyclist who is taken by the French mafia
after he collapses in the Tour de France. In Belleville, the
grandmother and her trusty sidekick Bruno are taken in by aging
triplets-three eccentric women with a strange penchant for eating
frogs-that starred in a vaudeville show together sometime in the
distant past. We get a delightful glimpse of their show as the
movie starts, one you won’t forget! Triplettes has largely
no spoken words, but a lot of attitude and memorable characters
nonetheless, and one of the catchiest songs to come out of an
animated film in well, forever, as far as I know (as someone who
holds Disney tunes in disdain.)

One of the strengths of Triplettes comes from the oddity
of its animation, and the absurdity of the plot. We see rather
unusual animation in the obnoxious obesity of the “Belleville-ians”
juxtaposed by the rail-thin, string bean-y triplets, along with a
rubbery waiter who literally bends over backwards for his
customers, and the strange, oppressive, box-shaped mafia henchman;
all along with a grandma and dog that literally cross the Atlantic
Ocean in a paddle boat to save the grandson, and the vivid dreams
of a dog. The oddity, and perhaps cartoon-like absurdity are also
possibly the film’s weakness.

While the first half of the film sets us up with the depiction
of the very realistic love and caring the grandmother has for her
grandson, the second half suddenly turns off the path, and dumps
off somewhere in a Looney Tunes-esque world. Everything in the
first half of the movie works well, but the dose of real danger and
the suspense the viewer feels as the grandson is kidnapped at the
Tour de France, is lost with the Wile E. Coyote vs. Road Runner
hijinks towards the end of the film. Overall, the film is worth the
trip and money, even if just for the sheer sake of seeing something
different, and sitting through the credits to hear the Triplettes’