32 user 92 critic

Le hérisson (2009)

Unrated | | Drama | 3 July 2009 (France)
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 »


Mona Achache


Mona Achache (screenplay), Muriel Barbery (novel)
10 wins & 4 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 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


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:

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France | Italy


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



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Credit is given for two Swiss television game shows, "Waagrecht" and "Tell-Star", neither of which have entries in IMDB (as of January 2017). 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 »


Features Fascht e Familie (1994) 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 »

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User Reviews

16 September 2010 | by stuka24See 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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