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The Hedgehog (2009)
"Le hérisson" (original title)

 |  Drama  |  3 July 2009 (France)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 5,581 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 28 user | 92 critic | 22 from Metacritic.com

Paloma is a serious and highly articulate but deeply bored 11-year-old who has decided to kill herself on her 12th birthday. Fascinated by art and philosophy, she questions and documents ... See full summary »

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Title: The Hedgehog (2009)

The Hedgehog (2009) on IMDb 7.4/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Renée Michel
...
Paloma Josse
...
Kakuro Ozu
...
Solange Josse
Ariane Ascaride ...
Manuela Lopez
Wladimir Yordanoff ...
Paul Josse
Sarah Lepicard ...
Colombe Josse (as Sarah Le Picard)
Jean-Luc Porraz ...
Jean-Pierre, le clochard
Mona Heftre ...
Madame Meurisse
Gisèle Casadesus ...
Madame de Broglie
Samuel Achache ...
Tibère
Valérie Karsenti ...
La mère de Tibère
Stéphan Wojtowicz ...
Le père de Tibère
Isabelle Sobelmann ...
Anna Arthens
Chantal Banlier ...
Maria Malavoin
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Storyline

Paloma is a serious and highly articulate but deeply bored 11-year-old who has decided to kill herself on her 12th birthday. Fascinated by art and philosophy, she questions and documents her life and immediate circle, drawing trenchant and often hilarious observations on the world around her. But as her appointment with death approaches, Paloma finally meets some kindred spirits in her building's grumpy concierge and an enigmatic, elegant neighbor, both of whom inspire Paloma to question her rather pessimistic outlook on life. Written by Dubai International Film Festival

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Let Life In.

Genres:

Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

3 July 2009 (France)  »

Also Known As:

El erizo  »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The names of Paloma and her sister Colombe, both mean 'Dove' or 'Pigeon' in Spanish and French respectively. See more »

Quotes

Paloma Josse: Planning to die doesn't mean I let myself go like a rotten vegetable. What matters isn't the fact of dying or when you die. It's what you're doing at that precise moment.
See more »

Connections

Features The Munekata Sisters (1950) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Melodrama.
16 September 2010 | by (Capital, Buenos Aires, Argentina) – See all my reviews

If you liked "Amelie" and its "magical realism", you'll probably like this film's naiveté. If you didn't... you'll just endure it :).

Can "films starring kids" succeed? Indeed! Stella (2009) is a good case in point. Also "Blame It on Fidel". This film will probably remind you of "something" both of Stella and "Seraphine", because of the "straight-out-of-the-bed unshavelled look" of the main character, but who has a "hidden secret/ sensibility". But again, Seraphine is a work of art, and a daring one. Herisson falters both emotionally and artistically. It has some pedagogic intentions, like when they quote twice, even showing the book, the trite Tolstoi quote about happy and sad families being alike and different. Or the "Freudian death wish" (thrice).

From the start this film tries to make us instantly like Paloma, then her classy and neurotic mum, then Renée (completely opposite character), finally leading us to believe the romance between her and Kakuro, the new tenant, is all but "written in the stars" when sorry, I didn't see any chemistry between the characters, and thought all the intimacy scenes were awkward, not believable. And I don't want to speak about the ending, so contrived, and yes, it has been done before, way better, by a host of great filmmakers. There is not much of a "social context", strange for a French film. Only the occasional touch of "class struggle" from Renée when she says she conforms to the stereotype people have of her job (true), or when she is literally not seen by the other posh tenants when she undergoes the classic "Cinderella" transformation. All with signs of the difference money makes, like the lent dress she wears, contrast this with the ultra expensive flat of Kakuro, playing the Requiem in the toilet and with a kitchen that looks from a designer magazine.

Ariane Ascaride plays a likable secondary role, she's the most natural of all the cast by far. There are a lots of cats in the film. Palmoa of course has some nuggets of child wisdom, like when she notices: "don't let the cat out, nor the concierge in". But they don't fit in at all in the story, which never seems to go anywhere, doesn't solve Paloma's "funny" grim outlook and suicidal tendencies, nor her family's idiosyncrasies. Her sister and father are just there for some "comic relief", but Paloma, like the concierge, is also a hedgehog, in the sense of she relating to the world only in her own terms. That, the refreshing outlook of children of our adult routine, should be enough material for a good film, and it has been. But my take anyway is that, like most recipes, sometimes it just doesn't work well...

I agree with Chris Knipp from IMDb that Paloma is ridiculously clever, there are no clues on how Kakuro transformed his apartment or where does he get all the cash, and basically, how this film has the classic structure of a best seller: "Its simplifications are satisfying, if you don't go too deep".


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