7.4/10
7,700
31 user 92 critic

Le hérisson (2009)

Unrated | | Drama | 3 July 2009 (France)
Trailer
1:44 | Trailer
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 »

Director:

Mona Achache

Writers:

Mona Achache (screenplay), Muriel Barbery (novel)
10 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

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 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 Stéphan Wojtowicz ... Le père de Tibère
Isabelle Sobelmann Isabelle Sobelmann ... Anna Arthens
Jeanne Candel 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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Let Life In.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | Italy

Language:

French | Japanese

Release Date:

3 July 2009 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

El erizo See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Renée's cat is called 'Léon' in the French credits and in the dialogue, but is called 'Leo' in the English subtitles. This is because Tolstoy's Russian name of Lev is translated as 'Leo' in English and 'Léon' in French. See more »

Goofs

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

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

 
Cats and Goldfish
25 September 2011 | by ferguson-6See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. The directorial feature debut from Mona Achache is based on the French bestseller "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" by Muriel Barbery. The meticulous pace masks whirlwind of emotion and thought occurring in the three key characters. Three characters whom each of us could be guilty of overlooking on a daily basis.

For those who don't know, the film defines a hedgehog as a prickly-on- the-outside, cuddly-on-the-inside critter that is often misjudged. Our three characters all fit this description in some manner. Paloma (Garance LeGuillermic) is an 11 year old girl who plans to kill herself on her 12th birthday because no one understands her and her life is filled with what are the minor inconveniences of being an 11 year old - her mother talks to plants more than she talks to her, her father is a distracted workaholic, and her self-centered teenage sister is, well, a self-centered teenager. Madame Renee Michel (Josiane Balasko) is the building's caretaker. Self-described as old and ugly, she lives the life of quiet desperation, hiding with her cat and massive library of books and chocolate. The building's new tenant is Kakuro Ozu (Togo Igawa), a mysterious and elegant man who immediately sees through Madame Michel's prickly exterior.

Paloma spends much of her day documenting by video camera the goings on in her life and of those in her building. She often adds her insightful and humorous narrative to the scene as it occurs. Her view on life and its possibilities begins to change as she observes and gets to know Madame Michel and Mr. Ozu, and more importantly, observes their interactions.

The underlying storyline of an 11 year old girl contemplating suicide can be quite disturbing, but director Achache never really lets that occur. Instead we focus on very simple acts of kindness and subtle smiles and gestures that indicate life can be rewarding and worthwhile. I also found Madame Michel's surrender to the state of invisibility to be quite disturbing, but her awakening to be fascinating. She had not been rejected by society as much as simply overlooked.

Unlike many French movies that bombard us with rapid fire, overlapping exchanges, this one instead relies on patience and a sharp eye ... think of it as the slight squeeze while holding a loved one's hand.


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