The Hedgehog (2010) Film Review

When 11-year-old Paloma (Garance Le Guillemic) decides that she wants to commit suicide on the date of her next birthday, she has 165 days left to go. By viewing her mother, who talks to house plants, and her father, who is well-intentioned but has nothing much more to offer, Paloma concludes that her life is bound to be horrible. Her promise to herself comes with one self-assigned stipulation, though; while other people might make climbing Mt. Everest their lives’ greatest goal, Paloma aims to make a film. She begins to do so with her father’s 8mm camera, filming everyone and anyone who will allow her to.

With The Hedgehog (Le Herisson), director Mona Achache brings Muriel Barbery’s novel to life with a clear and concise vision. Although the film’s subject matter seems bleak, it is far from; instead, it captures beauty in seemingly insignificant moments, making it clear that even the smallest details can hold worth when viewed from the outside. All throughout the film, Paloma’s dry, sardonic narration is charming and keeps viewers in line with the childish yet thought-provoking viewpoint.

Paloma inches closer and closer to reaching her suicidal deadline, but finds herself forming close bonds with unlikely individals, including the building’s lonely bookworm janitor, Renée Michel (Josiane Balasko) and a refined Japanese widower Kakuro (Togo Igawa). By finding refuge in the company of those two individuals, she begins to discover that beyond the walls of her home, life really can contain some mystery and wonder.

NOW SHOWING IN SEATTLE:
May 28, 2010 7:00 PM (Uptown Cinemas)
May 30, 2010 4:00 PM (Uptown Cinemas)

Written by
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/she) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

In 2017, Vee released the narrative short film, Searching Skies — which touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States — and co-organized The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. 2022 sees the release of their next short film, Reckless Spirits, which is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature film.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

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