The life of a determined young girl is changed when she befriends her building's concierge, a solitary woman who is more than what she seems.


Mona Achache


Mona Achache (screenplay), Muriel Barbery (novel)
10 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Josiane Balasko ... Renée Michel
Garance Le Guillermic ... Paloma Josse
Togo Igawa ... Kakuro Ozu
Anne Brochet ... Solange Josse
Ariane Ascaride ... Manuela Lopez
Wladimir Yordanoff ... Paul Josse
Sarah Le Picard ... Colombe Josse
Jean-Luc Porraz Jean-Luc Porraz ... Jean-Pierre, le clochard
Mona Heftre Mona Heftre ... Madame Meurisse
Gisèle Casadesus ... Madame de Broglie
Samuel Achache Samuel Achache ... Tibère
Valérie Karsenti Valérie Karsenti ... La mère de Tibère
Stéphan Wojtowicz ... Le père de Tibère
Isabelle Sobelmann Isabelle Sobelmann ... Anna Arthens
Jeanne Candel Jeanne Candel ... La coiffeuse


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


Let Life In.




Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Togo Igawa (Kakuro Ozu) learned his French lines in the movie phonetically. He does not speak French in real life. See more »


When Paloma feeds the anti-depressant pill to the fish, the fish dies instantly. The fish would not die this fast. See more »


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 »


Featured in On demande à voir: Episode dated 24 June 2009 (2009) See more »


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 Zdenek Kosler (as Zdeneck Kossler)
See more »

User Reviews

A delicate touch to depict three magic souls
8 January 2010 | by yris2002See all my reviews

I am now quietly used to going to movie theatres alone (in Italy this is still seen as an "odd" thing), I like it although regretting not exchanging opinion with some company, but this time an old woman was sitting, on her own, next to me, and at the end of the movie, we watched one another with our eyes suffocating some necessary tears, and she said: "how sad, but what a nice movie", I couldn't but agree with her (and innerly hoping I will still be able to go movie theatre, in my older years). "Le herisson" is the cinematographic adaptation of a best selling novel, a real literary case, which I have read, being quite surprised by the idea of making a movie from it, since it is a book where really little happens, and where the writer loves, and manages to play with the aesthetic, intellectual and emotional power of words.

But the young director Mona Achache managed to transpose the subtlety of the written word, in that she focused on the three main characters perfectly. They are three delicate souls, perceived by others as "odd", eccentric, different: Renée, the caretaker, apparently dowdy and ignorant, on the contrary very cultured and hiding a sensitive soul, Paloma , the "complicated", but in reality deep young girl, simply disregarding the void adult world, and the amazing Kakuro, the prototype of what a real man should be, refined in his soul, respectful, tactful. And you come to ask yourself why such high human qualities are viewed as odd, while they should be the normal way of living! In today's standardized, vulgar world, I perceived the movie as an effective antidote, supporting with strength the value of the uniqueness of the single human being. It is also a praise of delicacy and slowness, of the magic of a single spoken word or a single kind gesture, or a single soft glance: a few things happen, and a few things are said, simply because for a full life, we don't need to see or hear many things , we need a few but good things.

Despite its slowness, the movie is never boring, on the contrary I felt raptured by the delicacy and the calmness of these characters, wonderfully interpreted by three talented and actors. I identified myself also with the little Paloma, probably because she reminded me at her own age, when I liked being on my own, finding my secret refuge, where I could stay alone with my thoughts, as I grew up I realized how people could have seen my as a "difficult", even problematic child, but also fully realized how it is easy to be judged because different from the mass, but how important to keep your real inner precious world alive. Go and see it, you will be enchanted by these three simple, plain, but magic characters.

52 of 63 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 36 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »



France | Italy


French | Japanese

Release Date:

3 July 2009 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Hedgehog See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$39,276, 21 August 2011

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed