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Movie Info

After losing her mother in a car accident that leaves her with a broken arm, 4-year-old Ponette (Victoire Thivisol) struggles with anguish and fear. Left by her father with a caring aunt (Claire Nebout) and her children, Ponette grieves, secretly hoping her mother will somehow come back. Confused by the religious explanations provided by adults, and challenged by the cruel taunts of a few children at school, little Ponette must make her way through her emotional turmoil.

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Critic Reviews for Ponette

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for Ponette

  • Jun 16, 2011
    Victoire Thivisol gives such an amazing performance for such a young actress. I really loved the emotion protrayed in this film and the story was well-written. The director really brought it to life realistically I think... except for the end which went against everything in the beginning that people don't come back to life, except Jesus, until the rapture when everyone is resurrected. I really liked how the aunt was comforting Ponette but the other people in the movie who talked about God really got on my nerves... especially Ada, the girl on the playground. One of the best French films I've seen! :-)
    Dannielle A Super Reviewer
  • Nov 09, 2010
    I'm gonna give a big credit to the director who successfully directed all the young casts who are so adorable. Watching this is like going back to my own childhood.
    Cita W Super Reviewer
  • Feb 28, 2010
    I do not believe I have ever seen a film that comes anywhere close to "Ponette" before. While I would not consider it my favorite film that I could watch over and over and over, it is easily one of the stronger movies I have seen. Rarely do I view a film that is so precise and cohesive even though it simultaneously plays off so many different themes, like sentimentallity, nostalgia (we all remember the strange social world of the playground though maybe some of us don't want to go back), the pain of loss, and (gasp) humor. Most directors and actors would get lost at one point or another, not knowing how to segue or shift from one tone to another, but here there is nary a problem with doing so, which is especially amazing considering the leading lady has been walking and talking for about as long as it takes to make a bowl of oatmeal. The best scenes for me were the trials that the older girl put Ponette through. The dumpster one was especially great. Considering that early on in the film I sympathized with Ponette when she cried during some scenes, I felt bad laughing at her suffering through the tests, especially when her hand got caught when the dumpster lid came down. I believe some of this movie was improv, so for all I know, the poor girl really got her hand hurt, but I remember those type of moments as a child; those tests of stamina, durability, agility, etc. Probably not for everyone, but certainly for those who want to a see a piece of work very left-of-center yet not oddball in any way; simply a viewpoint that wouldn't normally seem worth making an entire feature film out of because it would be hard to pull off. Ponette is not only pulled off... it goes flying to the moon. This beautiful and sensitive drama surprised a lot of people when won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival 1996, given to a 5-year-old novice, Victoire Thivisol. She is really magnificent and, controversy aside, the important award recognized the biggest achievement in the film: Victoire reacts with amazing naturalness and outstanding facial expressions to the most intricate scenes. "Ponette" is a film that certainly will be in your memory, mostly because of a too young girl who shows the difference between a little great actress and a gracious child who wrinkles the eyebrows eloquently. the impression that director Jacques Doillon had simply found a real-life tragedy and somehow followed the participants through it with his camera. Nothing in this film gives you the impression of having been written, scripted, staged, produced. It is all so completely natural that you experience first hand the pain, the emotional agony of Ponette, as if she were your own daughter, your own sister, even your own self. Portrait of a bewildered 4-year-old girl, Ponette, who receives the news that her mother has been killed in a car accident in which her own life was spared. Her heartbroken father tries, ineffectually, to comfort the distraught child, who can barely comprehend what happened. Soon after, the father has to go away on business and leaves Ponette with her aunt and cousins. An extremely captivating movie on how a little girl copes with her mother's death. She withdraws from all the people around her, waiting for her mother to come back. She tries waiting, and when her mother still doesn't appear, tries magic chants, praying to God, and then becoming a child of God, to have some power over Him. All to no avail. But then, when she is in despair, her mother does come back
    Sergio E Super Reviewer
  • Oct 10, 2009
    Ponette was a sensitive drama but enjoyable to watch.In this movie a 5 year old French girl Victoire Thivisol carried the whole movie.She played Ponette, grieving her mothers death, and she never gave up in trying to get contact with her mother. The strong point of the movie was, it succeeded to bring the viewer into the world of thoughts and feelings of Ponette.I found it very difficult to understand how the director managed to let these children act so perfectly. The storyline was a simple one, but the movies greatness comes from the marvelous acting of the young children. A must to see.
    Daisy M Super Reviewer

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