IMDB. In French with English subtitles.
Now is the time on Marie's Movie's when I gush.
Okay, so Muriel Barbery's book The Elegance of the Hedgehog, of which this movie is a very faithful adaptation, was one of my very favorite books when I first read it back in 2009.
It's been a while since then, so I don't remember all the details or
how exactly the movie stacks up on this or that particular from the
book. What I will say is, I loved this movie, and if you loved the book,
run- don't walk- to the theater near you.
If you haven't read the book, here's what to expect. In the present day, a precocious little girl named Paloma lives in a posh Paris apartment building with her family; she feels isolated in a dysfunctional family and befriends Madame Michel, the building's concierge. Madame Michel is isolated too. A widow, she lives alone with her cat and her books and she lets the building's residents regard her as invisible. Then, one day, a handsome Japanese widower moves in and the strangest thing happens. He and Madame Michel become friends.
I loved this movie. Director Mona Achache adapted the story beautifully for the screen. The book is very talky, full of long internal monologues and asides; not a lot actually happens. In the movie, Achache dramatizes the monologues by giving Paloma a camera with which to film her family all the while commenting on their foibles and faults, and by giving Madame Michel a friend and a cat. (I think she may have had these in the book, too.) I worried about how a filmmaker could translate the talkiness of the book and keep the movie interesting; Achache does a great job. And the movie follows the main plot points of the book; if you've read the book you know what happens. The actors are terrific and the movie is just a joy to watch.
So yeah. Go see it. It's great!
You can find a schedule of US showings at NeoClassics Films.
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I did not receive free or promotional tickets to this screening.