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The Hedgehog

4.4 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews

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(Jun 26, 2012)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Inspired by the beloved New York Times bestseller, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery, The Hedgehog is the timely story of Paloma (Garance Le Guillermic) a young girl bent on ending it all on her upcoming twelfth birthday. Using her father's old camcorder to chronicle the hypocrisy she sees in adults, Paloma begins to learn about life from the grumpy building concierge, Ren‚e Michel (French Twist's Josiane Balasko). When Paloma's camera reveals the extensive secret library in Ren‚e's back room, and that the often gruff matron reads Tolstoy to her cat, Paloma begins to understand that there are allies to be found beneath the prickliest of exteriors. As the unlikely friendship deepens, Paloma's own coming of age becomes a much less pessimistic prospect.

Review

"The Hedgehog is an enchanting grown-up fairy tale about the redemptive power of love" --The Philadelphia Enquirer

"The Hedgehog is about the discovery that change is always possible and that it's never too late to embrace love or life". --Michael Sullivan, The Washington Post

"A Sweetly Hopeful Experience" --Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times

"The Hedgehog is about the discovery that change is always possible and that it's never too late to embrace love or life". --Michael Sullivan, The Washington Post

"A Sweetly Hopeful Experience" --Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Josiane Balasko, Garance Le Guillermic, Togo Igawa, Anne Brochet, Ariane Ascaride
  • Directors: Mona Achache
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: NeoClassics Films
  • DVD Release Date: June 26, 2012
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007HB6C9I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,033 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
bluntreview (dot) com says: France is usually the place to find small amazing films. This is no exception. The Hedgehog tiptoes through a few lives. The lens and players quietly sharing moments that ultimately ad up to a film that leaves you feeling...literally feeling. And these days saying a film raised an emotion (other than excitement due to an energetic edit or hyper sound system) says a lot.

Story goes...Little Paloma (Garance Le Guillermic) is facing another birthday. She will be twelve. She has decided not to be twelve. She is planning to kill herself as she feels death is nothing. Paloma is a deeply introverted brooding - but charming - child.

She is also a rich child in a rich home. Her family is busy with their own dramas (imagined and real). They know Paloma is there, but not who she is.

With her father's old video camera Paloma begins to document what she has determined will be her last 165 days. A child of Nietzsche-esque tendencies Paloma is a suffering being who feels she is destined to grow into nothing. She shall be just another being stuck in the rut of life, as exposed as some insignificant little goldfish wallowing in a privacy-free bowl.

Above her own swanky apartment home's level a neighbor has died. In their place comes a gentle Japanese man (Togo Igawa).

Unlike the other residents, he is immediately intrigued with the building's janitor Renee (Josiane Balasko ). The two seemingly yin and yang souls dare to cross "classes." A reserved kinship is explored; friendship and "what ever they want it to be."

Young Paloma has also just recently noticed Renee. Not simply as subject matter for her film, or the building's frumpy janitor, but as a woman with a secret...
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Format: DVD
This very French, life-affirming film about the unlikely friendship between a precocious 11 year old determined to end her life on her 12th birthday and the gruff super or concierge of the Parisian building in which her family lives caught me by surprise. Based on Muriel Barbery's "The Elegance of the Hedgehog," this film gets everything just about right as the young girl discovers that life itself holds secrets if one risks connecting with another. Even if that person has a harsh, gruff exterior. This terrifically entertaining movie plays with darkness, light and grace.
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Something there is about little French films that is like discovering a free-floating water lily in a quiet stream: it approaches you, shares it lovely scent as it passed, and then continues on out of sight, leaving you warmly happy at the privilege of observing a gentle bit of nature if only for a moment. THE HEDGEHOG does just that. Mona Achache directs her screen play adapted from the novel "L'élégance du hérisson" by Muriel Barbery, casts an impeccable group of actors who bring to life this tale of how serendipitous nods of love can alter lives.

The title comes form the definition of a hedgehog as a prickly-on- the-outside, cuddly-on-the-inside critter that is often misjudged. And that definition applies to several characters in the story though it is most directly connected to bourgeoisie apartment house concierge Renee Michel (Josiane Balasko), a middle-aged and sour hermit who lives to mop the floor, distribute mail, and to give you a wary eye to passersby. The building is inhabited by rich people, a fact we learn from the narrator of the story - Paloma Josse (Garance Le Guillermic), an eleven-year-old girl disturbed by her privileged life in Paris. Her father Paul (Wladimir Yordanoff) is distracted by his government job while her mother Solange (Anne Brochet) drinks champagne with anti-depressants while talking to her plants, and her sister Colombe (Sarah Le Picard) focuses her shallow life on a pet goldfish. She decides she will kill herself in 165 days on her 12th birthday and begins to document the hypocrisy of the adults in her apartment building with her father's old 8mm camcorder.
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This wonderful film is horribly mutilated in the DVD version. My wife and I saw it in a theater and thought it delightful. Then we saw it again in this chopped-up version. The art on the walls is truncated. Even worse, a tender scene between father and daughter is cut so to pieces, one misses the point of the scene. The story line about the sister doesn't make sense. Why put something out if you're going to hack it to pieces? Yes, there was still a lot to like, but this butchery makes no sense and it's an injustice to the people who created it with such love.
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The movie is cute, fun, and a decent retelling of the book. It's a good look at a different side of France, and it's nice to have heroines who don't look flawless but still have class and are really far more interesting and compelling overall. Which is essentially the point of the book, and the movie conveys that well enough. The soundtrack is quite lovely, too.

At one point, it was cheaper to buy this via Amazon.ca, but the price has come down enough that it's not worth doing that anymore.
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