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.

May 28, 2010 7:00 PM (Uptown Cinemas)
May 30, 2010 4:00 PM (Uptown Cinemas)

Written by
Vivian Hua 華婷婷

Vivian Hua 華婷婷 is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer. As the Executive Director of Northwest Film Forum in Seattle and Editor-in-Chief of the interdisciplinary arts publication, REDEFINE, much of her work unifies her metaphysical interests with her belief that art can positively transform the self and society. She regularly shares human-centered stories through her storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE! In 2020, she will [hopefully] begin production on a comedic Asian-American series entitled Reckless Spirits.

Ask Vivian about MARSHMALLOWS, cuz she's gross... and being tips for being frugal while nomading!

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Written by Vivian Hua 華婷婷
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