The Hedgehog is a subtitled French film from 2009 that finally got released in the U.S. last year, and thanks to the Battelle Film Club, it will be seen in the Tri-Cities.
The story centers around Paloma, an 11-year old girl whose interests are philosophy and art.
No one in her family can relate. Her parents barely speak to each other much less to Paloma. The disconnected mom talks to plants, and the psychiatrist but can’t talk to her daughter. Dad is nowhere to be found.
Paloma’s isn’t impressed with adulthood. Not wanting a mundane existence or to become like her parents or big sister, she decides to kill herself when reaches the age 12. Until the big day, Paloma documents her case on video.
Attitudes change when Paloma really gets to know her building’s concierge. Plain, frumpy and seemingly devoid of anything close to a life, Renee is an avid reader and has a huge library. That impresses Paloma, who begins to spend time with her. At the same time, a Japanese tenant befriends Renee and gives her an intellectual outlet.
Kudos to the Battelle Film Club. Normally, the club shows hard to find art films now on DVD or old classic movies. The Hedgehog is not only still in art houses in major markets, but it’s also one of the best movies released in this country last year.
Garance le Guillermic steals the movie as the precocious Paloma. Part of her charm comes from a terrific script from first-time major release writer/director Mona Achache. The film is packed with humor, witty but wry life observations and great characters.
When the credits roll, you won’t be ready. Life goes on. You like these people and want to know what happens to them as their lives unfold. Movies don’t get any better than that.
Mr. Movie rating: 5 stars
Not rated. Probably PG-13 for mature themes. It plays one time only -- 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 6 at the Battelle Auditorium.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.