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L' Argent de Poche (Pocket Money) (Small Change)

L' Argent de Poche (Pocket Money) (Small Change) (1976)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 8.2/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.

audience

86

liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 3,484

My Rating

Movie Info

L'Argent de Poche (Small Change) is an episodic comedy drama composed of several sequences that explore childhood in director François Truffaut's signature humanistic style. Filmed in Thiers in South Central France, each vignette is seen from the point of view of a kid from two weeks to 14 years old. There is no real plot, just little scenes flowing together dealing with personal joys and pains of the children in a small town. While most of the issues are simple and lighthearted, some of the

Jan 23, 2001

$32.7k

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All Critics (15) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (13) | Rotten (0)

Gets at something meager and precious about childhood.

November 25, 2009 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One longs for a less mawkish hand whenever this film slips into didacticism, the prime offender being Stévenin's climactic speech to his class.

November 25, 2009 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A major work in minor keys.

May 9, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[Truffaut] ecreates childhood, and yet he sees it objectively, too: He remembers not only the funny moments but the painful ones.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Gentle French coming-of-age film is best for teens and up.

December 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Filled with familial love, youthful spontaneity and gentle humor.

April 23, 2010 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

Delightfully competent but slight episodic childhood drama/comedy.

November 2, 2008 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Truffaut is so precise with his observations and unintrusive with the camera that we feel as if we are seeing a documentary instead of contrived movie scenarios.

July 13, 2005 Full Review Source: Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

It walks the line between cloying and charming, but mostly manages to stay on the right side.

March 10, 2004
F5 (Wichita, KS)

A wonderful valentine to the playfulness and spontaneity of children

January 18, 2004 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for L' Argent de Poche (Pocket Money) (Small Change)

Beautifully incohesive coming-of-age film, set in a small French town, that builds its very own world and populates it with characters from different walks of life and their fascinating interactions. Given that growing up is in and of itself its own narrative, the story has a direction from the get-go, and within its timeframe - the last weeks of the school year leading up to the kids' first co-ed summer camp - Truffaut seems to just let the camera run, encompassing the entire experience of growing up in this town in a series of scenes filled with excellent child acting. The title is perfect, in a way, as many of the children are somewhat of an afterthought, seemingly unimportant in their insignificant lives, kind of like the small coins that accumulate in your pocket over time. But as the saying goes, it all spends the same, and what's more, individually, each of these coins moves from unconsidered to precious by film's end.

The downside of the growing-up narrative, I suppose, is that it doesn't really end: you grow up, which closes this window, but this kind of story can be somewhat anti-climactic, and can leave the storyteller searching for a way out that's not intrusive or cliche). Truffaut gives in a little by choosing a speech from a caring teacher, but cheap exit or not, it's well-written and well-delivered and stops short of plainly laying out the filmmaker's point.

Together, these pennies saved are truly pennies earned, and you will be much richer for the whole of this experience than the sum of the film's parts might suggest. A delightful little film from a masterful director - and, interestingly, as I recently read in an interview with Wes Anderson, a big inspiration for Moonrise Kingdom. Definitely a good time to dust it off again.
July 3, 2012
danperry17

Super Reviewer

This film depicts episodes from children's lives in a small town in the very center of France.
While I watched this film, two things kept recurring in my head. First, Truffaut is so much better when he's dealing with children, Stolen Kisses being an exception. Second, this is so much better than Amarcord, which is a Fellini film that L'Argent de Poche reminds me of. In both Fellini and Truffaut's films, we see no main character except the town's inhabitants, and there are comedic episodes that attempt to convey a "slice of life." But like Amarcord, many of the "comedic" moments aren't especially funny. One is downright ridiculous; I won't give it away, but at the resolution of the Gregory situation, I briefly hated this film, finding it emotionally manipulative and simple-minded.
But unlike Amarcord Truffaut has clear thematic purpose. He remembers and conveys the moments of childhood when the cliche of "childhood innocence" rings true, but at the same time, he captures the awkwardness and embarrassment of trying to make one's way in the world without a road map or a trustworthy tour guide.
I also found the curious absence of parents interesting, replaced, it seems, with teachers who seem more cautious and exacting than their biological counterparts. And the climactic speech by an educator provides a good thematic conclusion.
Overall, I liked L'Argent de Poche, even though there were moments when it tried my patience.
December 7, 2011
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

I could watch an entire feature of that little Gregory kid. But not if he keeps falling out of windows. That was not funny.
January 4, 2010
smootysveen

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Taschengeld (DE)
  • Small Change (L'Argent de poche) (UK)
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