Despicable Me: Troublesome Character Design

Written by Luke Barnes

Despicable Me is an animated family film directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud. The plot follows the adventures of Gru (Steve Carell), a supervillain who is trying to prove he still has what it takes.

Before I get into it I just want to point something out. Personally, I thought it was a little suspect that all the characters in this film who are supposed to be supervillains, including Gru, have stereotypically over the top Jewish features in their designs. Now, I don’t know if this was done deliberately and I have asked others what they think and not everyone seems to notice it, but to me it reeks of cheap and fairly blatant antisemitism; if interested I advise you to look into the racism of the Despicable Me series as there is a fair bit written about it.

Setting that to one side for a minute, the film can actually be quite charming when it wants to be: the scenes between Gru and his adoptive daughters, particularly the scenes when he is reading to them with the cat finger print book are adorable and heart-warming.

The minions themselves seem to be love them or hate them, at least in terms of the online discussion. I found myself mixed. I did not like the fact they talk in gibberish, it reminded me of something like Shaun The Sheep which I also didn’t like for a similar reason- I prefer characters that talk. They do have some moments that allow you to warm toward them, but I was still indifferent to them by the end of the film.

Overall, there is some promise here, sadly the rather overt antisemitism spoils it.


Some warm scenes between Gru and his daughters

The Minions have a few strong comedic moments

It is easy enough to watch


The clear anti-Semitism

The Minions


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