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Movie Review: The Hedgehog

Alternate Title: A Life Worth Living

Story: What a treat! Director Mona Achache brings a much loved novel to the screen with first class aplomb. Paloma, an 11 year old child of French privilege, has the goal of committing suicide on her 12th birthday. She perceives the hypocrisy of her family and her forseeable lifestyle to be one that she does not want to live. She proceeds to document her remaining days on film and through wonderful drawings.

What we get is not at all glum - but a warm, intimate portrait of the individuals who live in her small French apartment dwelling. We meet the seemingly angry and grumpy, concierge, Renée, who has an interior life that no one in the building would guess exists. We also meet a newcomer - a Japanese gentleman and widower Kakuro, who adds an exotic flair to Paloma's otherwise routine existence.

The film has a slow, yet warm evolvement that will capture your fancy and your heart. I was taken and moved by this delightful and stirring film about life, friendship and surprises, written and directed by Mona Achache and taken from the novel, The Elegance of the Hedgehog,” written by Muriel Barbery.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQFTEv_41HY

Acting: Josiane Balasko as concierge, Renée Michel is nothing but perfect. Young Garance Le Guillermic as Paloma Josse was lovely. Togo Igawa as Kakuro Ozu was elegant and fine. Anne Brochet (Solange Josse), Ariane Ascaride (Manuela Lopez), Wladimir Yordanoff (Paul Josse) and Sarah Le Picard (Colombe Josse) were all terrific.

Predilection: None (although the title of the film was intriguing).

Trivia: Mona Achache the 30-year-old French filmmaker managed to persuade a seasoned producer to make her first feature film, the coming-of-age drama "The Hedgehog," and persuade the author of the novel on which the film is based to grant her the rights to the book.

Critters: Five gorgeous cats. I was particularly taken with the cat named, Leo.

Food: Yummy Japanese food, lots of scruptious French food and lots of chocolate.

Sex Spectrum: None

Blatant Product Placement: 0

Opening Titles: All titles at the end.

Visual Art: There are some terrific graphic images throughout the film.

Theater Audience: Two other people.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I paid attention throughout.

Predictability Level: I uttered an audible towards the end.

Tissue Usage: I welled up.

Oscar Worthy: Probably not.

Big Screen or Rental: Chances are you will only be able to rent this gem.

Length: 100 minutes.