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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Josiane Balasko
Garance Le Guillermic
Togo Igawa
Anne Brochet
Wladimir Yordanoff.
Directors
Mona Achache.
Screenwriters
Mona Achache.
Running Time
100 minutes

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The Hedgehog
Eats bugs, hiberates in winter


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Plot
World-weary Parisian tween Paloma (Garance Le Guillermic) decides to end it all before she reaches her twelfth birthday. An encounter with grumpy building concierge, Renee (Balasko), gives her reasons to wait a little longer.


Review
The Hedgehog
Mona Achache makes an accomplished debut with this adaptation of Muriel Barbery’s novel. Concentrating on 11 year-old Garance Le Guillermic’s confused take on adult behaviour, there is innovative use of inner monologues, Hi-8 footage and animated inserts, charting her relationship with her Champagne-swilling mother and distant father. Friendships with retired Togo Igawa and widowed concierge Josiane Balasko offer insights into a grown-up world where appearances are often deceptive. Le Guillermic is precocious and Igawa sweetly solicitous, but it’s Balasko’s shift from frumpy stereotype to the embodiment of her true nature that gives this engaging, melancholy fable its edgy charm.


Verdict
Some acute performances do justice to the novel in a quirky adaptation of the novel. Balasko steals the show as the prickly concierge with the warmer side.


Reviewed by David Parkinson

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