Nelly has just lost her grandmother and is helping her parents clean out her mother's childhood home. She explores the house and the surrounding woods. One day she meets a girl her same age ... Read allNelly has just lost her grandmother and is helping her parents clean out her mother's childhood home. She explores the house and the surrounding woods. One day she meets a girl her same age building a treehouse.Nelly has just lost her grandmother and is helping her parents clean out her mother's childhood home. She explores the house and the surrounding woods. One day she meets a girl her same age building a treehouse.
You didn't invent my sadness.
'Petite Maman (2021)' is an extremely low-key movie about a young girl who makes a new friend while staying at her recently deceased grandmother's house as her parents sort through the late matriarch's belongings. Even its subtle but significant fantastical elements (the exact nature of which are suitably ambiguous) are presented in a very realistic, down-to-earth way. It may very well just be the first social-realist children's fantasy film I've ever seen and it works far better than it perhaps ought to. Its lack of exaggeration allows it to hit home especially hard, as it feels like an experience that almost all of us will be able to relate to on some level. It acts as a sort of pseudo nostalgic retrospection for adults and, I'd imagine, an in-the-moment reflection of reality for children. Because of this, I actually think that it would be a good flick to watch with your own kids, especially since it deals with themes surrounding the relationship between parent and child. It isn't sappy like most movies dealing with a similar subject; in fact, it has a rather potent underpinning of melancholy to it. This sadness is profound yet benevolent, a representation of the slightly intangible and partially existential dread that inevitably exists on the fringes of everybody's own existence. The film posits that sadness is simply a part of life, something to be dealt with as it arises rather than pushed deep down below the surface. At the same time, the flick isn't even close to dour (evidence of that can be found in the genuine joy it is able to inspire simply by portraying the innocent laughter of children). It just represents reality as most of us experience it: flawed, somewhat monotonous and filled with ups and downs. There's an uplifting vibe to the overall affair and it all actually feels rather poignant. Though it isn't the most straightforwardly exciting or compelling piece, it does have a distinct effect and lingers with you for quite a while after it is over. It's a lovely film, despite its motifs of sadness and grief. It's also pretty unique in its own way. It's really good. 7/10.
- Feb 21, 2022
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