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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 4,890 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 27 user | 91 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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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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Language:

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Release Date:

3 July 2009 (France)  »

Also Known As:

El erizo  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The song that Yoko is singing is a well known Japanese children's song called 'Zo San' (the Elephant), the lyrics were written by the poet Michio Mado and the tune by Dan Ikuma, the lyrics go, 'Elephant elephant, why is your nose so long? Yes, my mother's nose is this long too. Elephant elephant, who do you like most of all? I guess I like my mother most of all.' See more »

Quotes

Renée Michel: Happy families are all alike.
Kakuro Ozu: Every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
[Quoting from Tolstoy's 'Anna Karenina']
See more »

Connections

Features The Munekata Sisters (1950) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A rare gem- a movie that is humorously smart and yet deeply moving
20 May 2012 | by (Singapore) – See all my reviews

Paloma Josse (Garance Le Guillermic) is a eleven year old girl disturbed by her privileged life in Paris. Her father Paul (Wladimir Yordanoff) is distracted by his government job while her mother Solange (Anne Brochet) drinks champagne with anti-depressants while talking to her plants. She decides she will kill herself in 165 days on her 12th birthday and begins to document the hypocrisy of the adults in her apartment building with her father's old camcorder. The apartment janitor, Renee, may appear to be a just another middle-aged woman who is bitter and grumpy, somewhat prickly, but when a new Japanese neighbor, Kakuro Ozu (Togo Igawa) moves in, he sees something else in her, something soft. This intrigues Paloma about "The Hedgehog", a term used to describe Renee. Despite the fact that Paloma and Renee are on opposite ends of the socioeconomic scale, both of them prefers to quietly observe life from a place of relative obscurity while dwelling on the edge of the society

The soul of the film is definitely the subtle love story between Kakuro and Renee. Kakuro surprises Renee by completing her comment that 'happy families are all alike,' with 'but each unhappy family is unique,' which is a direct quote from a novel during their first meeting. As Renee goes through her own transformation, the chemistry between her and Kakuro grows. It was then the three form a unique bond and we see Paloma and Renee emerge from hiding and begin to embrace life..

While adapting Muriel Barbery's bestselling novel "The Elegance of the Hedgehog", director Mona Achache makes a memorable directorial debut. She complements Barbery's style and enhances her work through Paloma's actions, doing things such as putting her older sister Colombe (Sarah Le Picard) in a 'fishbowl' by filming her through a glass of water (as a metaphor of Paloma's own life) and animating the drawings she created. While her character provides the narrative framing, young Le Guillermic makes an entertaining observer and narrator. The supporting cast as the Josse family gives a solid performance, creating a household which Paloma wish to escape from thoroughly believable. Igawa as Kakuro is gentle but understated and Balasko's Renee is a revelation, her performance is nuanced and graceful from within her dowdy exterior.

The Hedgehog is a heartwarming and unique tale, highlighting the importance of digging through the hard surface of life for the chance of discovering the hidden meanings and enjoyment beneath. Life, sometimes like the hedgehog, conceals a sophisticated elegance beneath a spiky veneer.

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