7.4/10
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30 user 92 critic

Le hérisson (2009)

Unrated | | Drama | 3 July 2009 (France)
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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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(screenplay), (novel)
9 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Solange Josse
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Paul Josse
Sarah Le Picard ...
Colombe Josse
Jean-Luc Porraz ...
Jean-Pierre, le clochard
Mona Heftre ...
Madame Meurisse
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Madame de Broglie
Samuel Achache ...
Tibère
Valérie Karsenti ...
La mère de Tibère
Stéphan Wojtowicz ...
Le père de Tibère
Isabelle Sobelmann ...
Anna Arthens
Jeanne Candel ...
La coiffeuse
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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

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Taglines:

Let Life In.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

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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  »

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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

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

Features Fascht e Familie (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Requiem en Ré mineur: Confutatis maledictis
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (as W.A. Mozart)
Performed by the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra (as Orchestre Philharmonique de Slovaquie) and the Slovak Philharmonic Chorus(as Choeur Philharmonique de Slovaquie), conducted by Zdnenek Kosler (as Zdeneck Kossler)
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User Reviews

 
Melodrama.
16 September 2010 | by 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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