|The rather serious Paloma Josse.|
Freely inspired by The Elegance of the Hedgehog director and writer Mona Achache has adapted Muriel Barbery’s best selling novel in to a fine movie. The Hedgehog (2009) is a film about human observation and seeing below the surface of individuals.
|Kakuro Ozu gets to know Renee Michel.|
|Renee and her new friend.|
The films narrative revolves around three distinctly different characters. The first one we encounter is Paloma Josse (portrayed by an engaging young actress called Garance Le Guillermic) an 11 year-old wise above her age. She is a member of an extremely rich neurotic family who reside in a very upmarket Parisian apartment block. This rather serious young lady intends to commit suicide when she reaches her 12th birthday in a 167 days time! At present she is preoccupied with filming her family and neighbours on a second hand video camera that her father had given her. The second, and main character is the hedgehog of the title Renee Michel the apartments live in Janitor. Played by French actress Josiane Balasko, the dowdy, grumpy and secretive concierge goes about her duties unnoticed. The third character is a new tenant who moves into one of the four apartments following the death of the previous occupant. Kakuro Ozu is a wealthy Japanese widower who intuitively sees passed Renee’s outward façade and unlocks her secret. The lonely, but astute Paloma also manages to breakdown the stern exterior of seemingly unfriendly Renee and along with Kakuro discovers her hidden depths.
Achache debut feature is a splendid mix of delightfully scripted dialogue and brilliantly acted character study’s. A very watchable and enjoyable film that draws you in and plucks at your emotions, my only concern is why it had taken nearly two years to get a release in the UK?