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The Hedgehog (2011)



Average Rating: 7.4/10
Critic Reviews: 17
Fresh: 15 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 5,216

My Rating

Movie Info

Inspired by the beloved New York Times bestseller, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery, The Hedgehog is the timely story of Paloma (Garance Le Guillermic) a young girl bent on ending it all on her upcoming twelfth birthday. Using her father's old camcorder to chronicle the hypocrisy she sees in adults, Paloma begins to learn about life from the grumpy building concierge, Renée Michel (Josiane Balasko). When Paloma's camera reveals the extensive secret library in Renée's back room,


Drama, Art House & International, Comedy

Mona Achache, Muriel Barbery

Jun 12, 2012


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All Critics (69) | Top Critics (19) | Fresh (59) | Rotten (8) | DVD (2)

"The Hedgehog" sneaks up on you with its heartfelt storytelling and sophisticated wit.

October 7, 2011 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A satisfying emotional experience.

September 22, 2011 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
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A reminder that, sometimes, the movies can get a beloved book exactly right.

September 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This a movie with such a light, stylish touch, it makes no claims to profundity and is a sweetly hopeful experience.

September 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
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"The Hedgehog" is a treat: a movie that's smart, grown-up, wry and deeply moving.

September 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Enchantment will go a long way toward overcoming implausibility, but there's not enough of the former here - and far too much of the latter.

September 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

11-year-old Paloma (Garance Le Guillermic) is rich, precocious and extremely judgmental in the way that only a privileged child can be.

May 15, 2013 Full Review Source: PopMatters

A French drama that finds its power in the little moments.

October 27, 2011 Full Review Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Le Guillermic is fine in this calm comedy of subverted exteriors and expectations, but it's the remarkably unpretentious -- earthy, even -- Balasko who anchors Achache's adaptation.

October 7, 2011 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

... it's Josiane Balasko that makes it work.

October 7, 2011 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

Balasko's performance is the highlight, as she breathes believable inner life into the stock character of the lonely, embittered widow.

October 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Oregonian

A darkly comedic broadside aimed at stuffy French elitism.

September 20, 2011 Full Review Source:

Portrayed by Balasko with nuance, grace, intelligence and humor, Renee is a quietly terrific portrait of a deserving, dynamic woman who has long gone unnoticed.

September 16, 2011 Full Review Source: San Francisco Examiner
San Francisco Examiner

With her film, Achache achieves a rare thing: She is faithful to the spirit of a terrific book but finds ways to make it come alive on film.

September 16, 2011 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

A charming performance by young Garance Le Guillermic proves key to the success of Mona Achache's adaptation of the popular Muriel Barbery novel The Elegance of the Hedgehog.

September 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

It's a brisk, touching comedy with a deliberately shocking climax and attractive performances from Josiane Balasko and Togo Igawa as the two people who change Paloma's understanding of life.

September 5, 2011 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

'Hedgehog' Bristles with French Charm

September 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Boston Herald
Boston Herald

It's some feat for this gentle French drama to overcome the device of an impossibly precocious, camcorder-wielding 11-year-old narrator (Garance Le Guillermic), who has secret plans to commit suicide on her next birthday.

September 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

This film's main attraction is the terrific Balasko. She is so watchable that one almost forgets about the awful Paloma and her video camera.

September 2, 2011 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

The fate of a goldfish provides a subplot in a film strong on tender characterisation and rather wishful about the remedies for loneliness.

September 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Independent

An affecting, watchable tale.

September 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Guardian

Audience Reviews for The Hedgehog

"My parents are rich, my family is rich and my sister and I are basically rich. But, in spite of that, in spite of all this luck and wealth, for a long time now I've known I'm heading for the fishbowl. A world where adults bang like flies on the glass. But I know one thing. The fishbowl isn't for me.".

Paloma is a bright little girl that decides to commit suicide on her 12th birthday. Once the important is not how or when but what you're doing
when you die, she decides to make a film to show how absurd life is.
In the beginning she didn't convinced me, but now I remember of Le Diable Probablement and I can see some similarities between Bresson's character Charles and her: they don't have the "common" agnst or deep sadness that used related to suicidal people, but a feeling of certainty and, conequently, unadjustment.

Mona Achache works up such a difficult subject with humour and sensitivity. The images of Paloma's film in contrast with the film itself are great and the drawings, adorable.
I just didn't like the dramatic-expected fairytale/love tale.

February 25, 2011

Super Reviewer

"The Hedgehog" starts with 11-year old Paloma(Garance Le Guillermic) filming herself talking about killing herself on her twelfth birthday in about 165 days. In the meantime downstairs, Renee(Josiane Balasko), the concierge, goes about her daily business. So, as one old tenant dies, Kakuro(Togo Igawa) arrives to take his place, along with a love of literature.

Well, you certainly have to give "The Hedgehog" this much. As unique as it is, equally combining sweetness and darkness, the movie gets right to the heart of the matter by grabbing the viewer's attention right away and gently never letting go. Overall, with its references to multiple art forms, including literature, movies and painting, the movie is about the imagination, with a character at the center who has an overactive one while ironically not being able to imagine much of a future for herself, just as Kakuro and Renee indirectly remind her that it may never be too late. At the same time, the viewer has to use his imagination to think about what Paloma's life may be outside of the apartment building where the movie is entirely set except for a brief visit to the cleaners. Not that it is her fault, but I think her depression comes from being bullied on the playground, as her kind of precociousness and weirdness never go over well there. Plus, we never see any friends in the apartment.
February 19, 2014
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

This is an odd movie with a touching story, adapted from the international best seller The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I have to say that I never heard of the French filmmaker Mona Achache before, and my surprise was very pleasant, smart, funny and warm film!

The story is told by the 11 year-old Paloma (Garance Le Guillermic) and is telling us that she has decided that life is not worth living, and that most of the people around her exist in a pointless fishbowl that will only end in suffering. She informs us that she intends to end her life on her twelfth birthday, which will take place in 153 days... and everything starts rolling from there in a real tour de force!

Paloma is adorable even with her round eyeglasses and striped shirt, carrying a video camera wherever she goes. She is documenting the ridiculous and therefore tragic lives of the fishbowl people she lives among. The other two major characters in the story are the elderly Japanese man Kakuro Ozu (Togo Igawa) who moves into Paloma's building, and the building's janitor Rene Michel (Josiane Balasko), an overweight woman with no friends and a cat. Somehow, this trio (melancholic Japanese man, the depressive Paloma, and the gruff Hedgehog - janitor Rene) manage to bring out the best in each other. Charming performances, very well directed, perfect story - and here it is: one of the films you'll remember forever! Do not miss it!
January 15, 2013
Panta Oz

Super Reviewer

Movies Like The Hedgehog

    1. Solange Josse: When I was little, I thought we got a number of words to say at birth and once we used them all up, we'd be struck dumb. For me, mutes didn't get their allocation of words.
    – Submitted by Frances H (11 months ago)
    1. Paloma Josse: My very own Everest is showing how life is absurd, my life and the life of others.
    – Submitted by Frances H (11 months ago)
    1. Paloma Josse: For a long time now I've known, my final destination is the fishbowl.
    – Submitted by Frances H (11 months ago)
View all quotes (3)

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Foreign Titles

  • Die Eleganz der Madame Michel (DE)
  • The Hedgehog (Le herisson) (UK)
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