The Hedgehog Review and Trailer

Let’s get this out of the way, there is not one hedgehog in this entire film.  Bad news for those expecting an animated romp starring a hedgehog, but good news for those who like their movie titles to be of the metaphorical kind.  So, even though there were no rodents in the film it did have a few cats, a goldfish, and three well developed characters intriguing enough to draw me into the bourgeois apartment setting of this finely crafted comigedy.

Comigedy: Definition – A film that is part comedy part tragedy.  This word is the first of two new words that you will be introduced to during my review for The Hedgehog. Feel free to use them as you see fit.

One of this film’s strengths lies in the three leads carrying this narrative along.  All three actors did wonderful jobs in portraying equally wonderful characters who were easy to root for.  It sure is refreshing when a good film comes along focusing on good people without ever feeling the need to introduce an antagonist in order to make a plot seem more interesting.

The first of these good people of the film are Paloma, an artistic and refined 11-year-old who is determined to kill herself come her 12th birthday. Not from depression mind you, more from not wanting to inherit any of her parents neurosis and/or adultisms.  Adultism – another word I made up.

Secondly, we have Mr. Ozu (no relation to the famous director), the newest tenant to the French building.  He is a wealthy man both financially and spiritually, well educated, and handsome to boot.

Then there’s Renee (AKA The Hedgehog).  Aside from being the buildings concierge, Renee is very well read, intuitive, and above all, a kind woman.  She has some minor self-esteem issues and would rather be alone with her cat, her chocolate, and her library than to socialize with the rest of the world, especially the apartment’s residents.  She does not want to disturb the status quo, which in her mind mandates that as a concierge, she need not be entitled to what those who inhabit the upper floors (Mr. Ozu and Paloma’s family) are entitled to.

Aside from the acting and the brief animation sequences, what I enjoyed most about Mona Achache‘s debut film were discovering the various layers of thought this simple tale of friendship had to offer.  For instance, the film’s primary setting of an apartment building spoke volumes, with its allegorical placement of these three friends on their respective floors, each one signifying their social status, or the ways in which literature, cinema, and pets play their part accordingly in relation to each of the characters’ roles.

The odd thing about this film is that even though the majority of the film is light-hearted, the sudden turn of events in one of the final scenes makes it difficult to decide if I would recommend this to someone looking for a good time at the theatre.  There were a few people I spoke to after the film who said they enjoyed it but were not pleased with how it ended.  While I see where they are coming from, I didn’t mind the ending.  For me, there was enough cerebral massaging and fun being had going on throughout the rest of the film that even if I hated the ending, which I didn’t, I still would have walked away from The Hedgehog being satisfied.

The Hedgehog opens Friday, August 26th in San Francisco at the Clay Theatre

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Categories: Reviews

One Comment on “The Hedgehog Review and Trailer”

  1. Nico
    August 24, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

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