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Hedgehog [Import]

5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 304.60
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Hedgehog [Import] + Huitieme Jour
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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real and Gritty April 1 2013
By E.G
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This movie was so French, and so typical of good-quality film. It is raw, real, and quite funny. Excellent work.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  78 reviews
50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film July 30 2011
By E. K. B. - Published on Amazon.com
bluntreview (dot) com says: France is usually the place to find small amazing films. This is no exception. The Hedgehog tiptoes through a few lives. The lens and players quietly sharing moments that ultimately ad up to a film that leaves you feeling...literally feeling. And these days saying a film raised an emotion (other than excitement due to an energetic edit or hyper sound system) says a lot.

Story goes...Little Paloma (Garance Le Guillermic) is facing another birthday. She will be twelve. She has decided not to be twelve. She is planning to kill herself as she feels death is nothing. Paloma is a deeply introverted brooding - but charming - child.

She is also a rich child in a rich home. Her family is busy with their own dramas (imagined and real). They know Paloma is there, but not who she is.

With her father's old video camera Paloma begins to document what she has determined will be her last 165 days. A child of Nietzsche-esque tendencies Paloma is a suffering being who feels she is destined to grow into nothing. She shall be just another being stuck in the rut of life, as exposed as some insignificant little goldfish wallowing in a privacy-free bowl.

Above her own swanky apartment home's level a neighbor has died. In their place comes a gentle Japanese man (Togo Igawa).

Unlike the other residents, he is immediately intrigued with the building's janitor Renee (Josiane Balasko ). The two seemingly yin and yang souls dare to cross "classes." A reserved kinship is explored; friendship and "what ever they want it to be."

Young Paloma has also just recently noticed Renee. Not simply as subject matter for her film, or the building's frumpy janitor, but as a woman with a secret...

The young girl playing Paloma, Garance Le Guillermic, is like a French Dakota Fanning; talented and adorable. Hollywood is sure to "discover" her and treat her as they've done Keira Knightly. Hopefully, Garance will get through her assigned stylist's whims, the studio's gobbstopping-money-centric machine and find herself still interested in doing these kinds of thoughtful films.

Josiane Balasko, who plays the somewhat invisable Renee, is a veteran in foreign film. And her decades of experience shines like a creme brulee on a table of store-brand sugar cookies. That is not to say her costars are weak (not at all). Josiane is just the clear scene stealer - and she hardly speaks!

Igawa is an elegant gentleman you will recognize, though you may not recall from where. Head over to IMDB.com and see for yourself.

In every aspect, The Hedgehog is wonderful. The acting all around superb, the sets and location marvelous; I could have done without the fish murder...but still. Director Mona Achache has an exceptional eye for bringing out the loudest statements with the smallest of voices. Get to this film, order this film, see this film. It will remind you not every film is a generic studio-driven farce remarkable only in the egos before and behind the lens and bottom-line profits.

Snack recommendation: Ramen noodles and tea
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LIFE-AFFIRMING May 24 2012
By Robin Simmons - Published on Amazon.com
This very French, life-affirming film about the unlikely friendship between a precocious 11 year old determined to end her life on her 12th birthday and the gruff super or concierge of the Parisian building in which her family lives caught me by surprise. Based on Muriel Barbery's "The Elegance of the Hedgehog," this film gets everything just about right as the young girl discovers that life itself holds secrets if one risks connecting with another. Even if that person has a harsh, gruff exterior. This terrifically entertaining movie plays with darkness, light and grace.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Happy families are all alike, but each unhappy family is unique.' Aug. 23 2012
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Something there is about little French films that is like discovering a free-floating water lily in a quiet stream: it approaches you, shares it lovely scent as it passed, and then continues on out of sight, leaving you warmly happy at the privilege of observing a gentle bit of nature if only for a moment. THE HEDGEHOG does just that. Mona Achache directs her screen play adapted from the novel "L'élégance du hérisson" by Muriel Barbery, casts an impeccable group of actors who bring to life this tale of how serendipitous nods of love can alter lives.

The title comes form the definition of a hedgehog as a prickly-on- the-outside, cuddly-on-the-inside critter that is often misjudged. And that definition applies to several characters in the story though it is most directly connected to bourgeoisie apartment house concierge Renee Michel (Josiane Balasko), a middle-aged and sour hermit who lives to mop the floor, distribute mail, and to give you a wary eye to passersby. The building is inhabited by rich people, a fact we learn from the narrator of the story - Paloma Josse (Garance Le Guillermic), an eleven-year-old girl disturbed by her privileged life in Paris. Her father Paul (Wladimir Yordanoff) is distracted by his government job while her mother Solange (Anne Brochet) drinks champagne with anti-depressants while talking to her plants, and her sister Colombe (Sarah Le Picard) focuses her shallow life on a pet goldfish. She decides she will kill herself in 165 days on her 12th birthday and begins to document the hypocrisy of the adults in her apartment building with her father's old 8mm camcorder. Her harsh judgments do not seem to include Renee: though they are at opposite ends of the socioeconomic spectrum Paloma senses something unusual about Renee, explores her apartment and discovers the extensive secret library in Renee's back room, and that the often untidy appearing and distant matron reads Tolstoy to her cat Leo. Renee's hedgehog appearance does indeed contain a cuddly inside, a fact that is revealed when a new tenant - Kakuro Ozu (Togo Igawa) moves in and he and Paloma realize they are kindred spirits. Mr. Ozu is a wealthy Japanese businessman and he strikes up a friendship with Paloma as they discuss their shared curiosity for the downstairs concierge woman and their delight in playing the game Go with one another. Kakuro's attention to and kindness for Renee creates changes: Renee is instructed by the maid Manuela Lopez (Ariane Ascaride) to have her hair done and to wear a new dress when Renee reluctantly accepts Kakuro's invitation to dinner. As Paloma observes the changes Kakuro creates in both Renee and in herself, her own coming of age becomes a much less pessimistic prospect. `Planning to die doesn't mean I let myself go like a rotten vegetable. What matters isn't the fact of dying or when you die. It's what you're doing at that precise moment.' And from there the story moves like that free floating water lily - passing on through life enlightened by its presence.

Josiane Belasko, Garance Le Guillermic, and Togo Igawa are brilliant in their roles. The script is quiet, intelligent and ultimately deeply touching, but it is the direction of Mona Achache that polishes this little gem to a glow. Clearly this is one of the finest films of the past decade. Grady Harp, August 12
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie! Oct. 31 2010
By L. Calcano - Published on Amazon.com
I read the book and today I watch the movie. Both are excellent, something rarely seen. It's a story about waking up to life, sprinkled with colorful and deep reflections. Highly recommend.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars oeuvre d'art mutilé March 4 2013
By Paul Edward Wulterkens - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This wonderful film is horribly mutilated in the DVD version. My wife and I saw it in a theater and thought it delightful. Then we saw it again in this chopped-up version. The art on the walls is truncated. Even worse, a tender scene between father and daughter is cut so to pieces, one misses the point of the scene. The story line about the sister doesn't make sense. Why put something out if you're going to hack it to pieces? Yes, there was still a lot to like, but this butchery makes no sense and it's an injustice to the people who created it with such love.
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