The Thorn in the Heart

Critics Consensus

Michel Gondry's directorial style is as bewitching as ever, but his intensely personal subject matter may leave viewers wondering why The Thorn in the Heart didn't stay in the family.



Total Count: 31


Audience Score

User Ratings: 433
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Movie Info

Filmmaker Michel Gondry turns from the playful semi-surrealism of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Science of Sleep to the personal story of a beloved family member in this documentary. Suzette Gondry is Michel's aunt and a retired schoolteacher; she educated children in rural communities in France from 1952 to 1986. While Suzette was committed to the education of all her students, she was a particularly close with one in particular -- her son, Jean-Yves, with whom she's had a loving but sometimes combative relationship. Michel accompanies Suzette on a journey in which she visits the many schools where she taught -- or the sites where those schools once stood -- and speaks of her experiences. She also meets some of her former students, and it's clear they recall Suzette as a woman with a kind heart but a strong will, and her determination earned her the enmity of a few of her charges. L'Epine dans le Coeur (aka The Thorn in the Heart) was an official selection at the 2009 BFI London Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi


Critic Reviews for The Thorn in the Heart

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (15)

Audience Reviews for The Thorn in the Heart

  • Nov 20, 2015
    Michel Gondry thought that his Aunt's life would make an interesting documentary. It doesn't.
    Marcus W Super Reviewer
  • Jul 05, 2011
    "The Thorn in the Heart" is a documentary from Michel Gondry about his aunt Suzette, concentrating on her teaching career and the people whose lives she has touched over the decades. Just because the material is slight does not stop Gondry from using it to explore some of his favorite themes including memory while having fun with the documentary genre itself, as the movie becomes very meta at times through heightened transparency. One example is the recreation of the infamous blocked bathroom door incident. The highlight for me was the model train set that was used in chapter titles which is a very nice touch especially if you are watching this documentary on a train as I was.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 16, 2011
    Michael gondry, goes back home to make a doc on his auntie, a former school teacher, here they visit schools she worked in through the late 50s and beyond, while looking back at family life, its a interesting enough idea, just doesent come across especially exiting, just a old women bringing up memorys, sometimes gondrys magic comes into play, so thats interesting, just not enough
    scott g Super Reviewer

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