The Hedgehog

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Garance Le Guillermic in The Hedgehog
Two separate films vie for supremacy in Mona Achache’s largely insufferable quirkfest based on Muriel Barbery’s 2006 novel, ‘The Elegance of the Hedgehog’. In film one, channelling equal parts ‘Rushmore’ and ‘Home Alone’, we have Garance Le Guillermic as the eminently slappable Paloma, 11-year-old pseud and – with an omnipresent Hi-8 camera  – furious auto-archivist, who’s decided to commit suicide on her twelfth birthday. Meanwhile, in film two, a hushed romance is playing out below stairs between surly, self-hating janitor Renée (Josiane Balasko) and gratingly genial Japanese stereotype Kakuro (Togo Igawa). Intended as a kooky meditation on death, Achache’s film pedals a tone so glib that it’s hard to care what happens. The technique has a degree of silky proficiency to it  but seems wasted on, among other things, long, precious close-ups of Paloma’s sprawling, hand-drawn mural. The second film is best, especially the scene when Renée and Kakuro watch Ozu’s ‘The Munekata Sisters’ together.

Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday September 2 2011
Duration: 99 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Mona Achache
Cast: Garance le Guillermic
Anne Brochet
Ariane Ascaride
Josiane Balasko
Togo Igawa

Average User Rating

2.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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LiveReviews|2
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stevhors

Well crafted adaptation of the book and themes clearly not understood at all by the Timeout reviewer and absolutely not "glib". Brilliantly acted throughout and although not to everyone's taste I'm sure, this will appeal to anyone who enjoyed the book. I found this film totally engaging for the full 100 minutes despite the small cast and lack of action.

sad filmgoer

Liked this - don't agree that the tone was 'glib'. Lovely cinematography and design. Some nice themes. Sad.