My Life as a Zucchini is a charming stop-action animated film that earned an Academy Awards nomination this year in the Animated Feature category. Icare, whose nickname is Courgette [Zucchini], is sent to a small orphanage after his alcoholic mother falls down the stairs and dies. The best aspect of My Life as a Zucchini is that the people who run the orphanage are kind, as is the policeman who takes an interest in helping Courgette after handling his case. Even the orphanage bully, Simon, comes around and becomes a friend. We learn the sad stories that have landed each of the little kids in the orphanage, and yet there is nothing mawkish in the film’s presentation. There is one particularly moving scene in which the children are taken on a field trip to the snow. But what really attracts the kids’ attention is seeing children who have parents—and loving ones at that. Still, each of the kids has a quality that can lead them to a positive future despite the hard luck they have faced so far.

My Life as a Zucchini is scheduled for release in the United States the same week as the Academy Awards. I’ll be curious to see how the U.S. version deals with one scene in which the children discuss sex innocently, but explicitly.