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A Cat’s Life Review: A Film for Animal Lovers

A close up of the cat Lou in the film A Cat's Life

A Cat’s Life is a tender tale of love and loss –  the perfect movie for anyone who loves cats as much as the film’s protagonist.

As a self-declared cat enthusiast, I was very excited to see A Cat’s Life, which promised to be the sweet story of a cat’s life, as the title suggests. As a product that combines the two things that I love the most – cats and cinema – it seemed to have been made specifically for me. After all, is there a better way to spend a few hours than watching cats on a screen? Not when they are this cute. And, of course, movies that centre around animals will always have a certain kind of appeal, especially for those of us who grew up with films like Charlotte’s Web.

A Cat’s Life starts when our titular cat, Lou, is just a newborn kitten. When his mother abandons the kittens and his siblings are taken somewhere else, Lou remains left behind but is soon adopted into a human family. As soon as Clémence (Capucine Sainson-Fabresse) sees him, she decides to care for him and convinces her parents to take him into their flat and their lives. The two eventually grow up together: Lou soon learns how to enjoy the wildlife around him, as they leave Paris to spend the holidays in the countryside with Clémence’s parents and their eccentric neighbour Madeleine (Corinne Masiero).

As someone who begged her parents relentlessly – and unsuccessfully – for a cat when I was a kid, I saw myself in the protagonist and her love for her kitten a lot, as will all those of us in the audience who understand the love for a pet. The brilliant acting makes us emphasise with the characters even more: Corinne Masiero takes the spotlight as Madeleine who quickly becomes the most fascinating character of A Cat’s Life.

The young actor is also really good, making us feel every emotional state that the protagonist goes through as the audience witnesses her transition into adolescence. I really liked how we get to see the different stages of adolescence Clémence goes through in A Cat’s Life, mirrored by the cat’s very own growing-up process. From her parents’ divorce to losing her childhood home, Clémence’s journey reminds us of how lonely and sorrowful we can feel during these early years, except for the company and love for her kitten of course. However, the voiceover and narration may sometimes feel superfluous: they are both too expositionary, reinforcing concepts and ideas that we could easily and more effectively understand through filmmaking alone.

Clémence and her cat Lou in the film A Cat's Life
A Cat’s Life (capelight pictures & Blue Fox Entertainment )

Ultimately, the film is at its strongest and most original when it follows the cat’s perspective. It is particularly interesting to notice how the animals, despite being the titular protagonists of the film, don’t talk. Going against the tradition of films from animals’ point of view – Babe or the aforementioned Charlotte’s Web are just two examples of many – the movie relies exclusively on its choice of shots and editing to convey the story. It does so very successfully, especially in the opening sequence, where Lou has to explore and become familiar with a whole new world that surrounds him.  

A Cat’s Life may not be the most memorable or groundbreaking film of the year, but it is a sweet movie that will be perfect for both kids and parents. It is also a beautiful story that truthfully highlights how painful but at the same time heartwarming growing up can be. Other than its important themes, I also really enjoyed how the film was shot especially in the sequences that are exclusively told through the cat’s eyes, allowing us to learn how to see the world through an entirely new perspective.

A Cat’s Life will be released in US theaters on March 29, 2024.

A Cat’s Life: Trailer (capelight pictures & Blue Fox Entertainment )
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