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The Hedgehog - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
The Hedgehog
Directing: B+
Acting: B+
Writing: B
Cinematography: B
Editing: B

The Hedgehog is overall a quiet, lovely tale of a superintendent slowly falling for one of her wealthy tenants. So what's with the suicidal 11-year-old?

The film opens with Paloma (an oddly precocious Garance Le Guillermic) filming herself with the video camera she's rarely seen without throughout the story. She looks into the camera and declares: on her 12th birthday, she's going to kill herself. She apparently doesn't see the point in bothering to grow up, only to, as she puts it, run up against the glass of a fish bowl. She systematically steals one of her mother's pills each day, slowly amassing what she figures to be enough to overdose. In the meantime, her parents, constantly distracted by their grown-up lives, complain about how Paloma hides all the time but otherwise hardly pay any attention to her.

And then this Japanese widower (Togo Igawa) moves in, and immediately takes an interest in Renée (Josiane Balasko), the middle-aged superintendent, herself a widow. He also befriends Paloma, who eventually forges relationships with both grown-ups separately.

The blossoming relationship between Renée and Kakuro the Japanese man is on its own rather pleasant to watch. Renée in particular goes through a very subtle but sure transformation, and it's fun to watch her go through it. It's sort of a coming-of-age story for the middle-aged set. It's never too late for a new stab at love, and all that.

But The Hedgehog does suffer slightly from a lack of tonal consistency. Paloma's obsession with death always feels a bit out of place, and clashes with the notion of the older characters tentatively falling for each other. Surely Paloma is meant to learn something from her experiences with and observations of Renée's self-discovery, and she does. Unfortunately, it takes a tragedy for the lesson to be learned.

It's difficult to gauge what the genre even is here. Comedy-drama, I suppose. It never quite fits squarely into one or the other. The Hedgehog is certainly different, and that at least is to its credit. You're certainly not going to find the same old crap here. In spite of the oddball death-obsessed little girl, who is unrealistically mature and well spoken, it's a pleasantly enjoyable film.

Josiane Balasko and Garance Le Guillermic make an unusual connection in THE HEDGEHOG.

Overall: B
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