THE HEDGEHOG

Nobody quite does the dark humor of miserable, quasi-profound youth like the French and Mona Achache’s The Hedgehog, an adaptation of the beloved book, is no exception. 11-year-old Paloma (a revelatory Garance Le Guillermic) plans to kill herself on her 12th birthday, but in the meantime spends her days and nights documenting “life in the fish bowl” (that of her bourgeois family) with her hi-8 video camera. Drawn unexpectedly to Renee Michel (Josiane Bolasko), the superintendent of the apartment building, gruff on the outside, soft and kind-hearted just beneath the surface, Paloma finds a new lease on life. Similarly, Renee is drawn to Kakuro Ozu (Togo Igawa), a mysterious and well-read Japanese man who has recently moved into the building. The journeys of self-discovery and mutual discovery between these three had me breathless and emotionally blind-sided by the end.

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