The Hedgehog (2011) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Hedgehog2011

The Hedgehog (2011)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Hedgehog Photos

Movie Info

Inspired by the beloved New York Times bestseller, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery, The Hedgehog is the timely story of Paloma (Garance Le Guillermic) a young girl bent on ending it all on her upcoming twelfth birthday. Using her father's old camcorder to chronicle the hypocrisy she sees in adults, Paloma begins to learn about life from the grumpy building concierge, Renée Michel (Josiane Balasko). When Paloma's camera reveals the extensive secret library in Renée's back room, and that the often gruff matron reads Tolstoy to her cat, Paloma begins to understand that there are allies to be found beneath the prickliest of exteriors. As the unlikely friendship deepens, Paloma's own coming of age becomes a much less pessimistic prospect. -- (C) NeoClassics Films

Watch it now


Josiane Balasko
as Renée Michel
Togo Igawa
as Kakuro Ozu
Anne Brochet
as Solange Josse
Ariane Ascaride
as Manuela Lopez
Sarah Le Picard
as Colombe Josse
Jean-Luc Porraz
as Jean-Pierre
Gisèle Casadesus
as Madame de Broglie
Mona Heftre
as Madame Meurisse
Valérie Karsenti
as Tibère's Mother
Stephan Wojtowicz
as Tibère's Father
View All

News & Interviews for The Hedgehog

Critic Reviews for The Hedgehog

All Critics (71) | Top Critics (30)

Le Guillermic is fine in this calm comedy of subverted exteriors and expectations, but it's the remarkably unpretentious -- earthy, even -- Balasko who anchors Achache's adaptation.

October 7, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

"The Hedgehog" sneaks up on you with its heartfelt storytelling and sophisticated wit.

October 7, 2011 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

A satisfying emotional experience.

September 22, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

A reminder that, sometimes, the movies can get a beloved book exactly right.

September 8, 2011 | Rating: 3.5/4

This a movie with such a light, stylish touch, it makes no claims to profundity and is a sweetly hopeful experience.

September 8, 2011 | Rating: 3/4

It's some feat for this gentle French drama to overcome the device of an impossibly precocious, camcorder-wielding 11-year-old narrator (Garance Le Guillermic), who has secret plans to commit suicide on her next birthday.

September 2, 2011 | Rating: 3/5

Audience Reviews for The Hedgehog


"The Hedgehog" starts with 11-year old Paloma(Garance Le Guillermic) filming herself talking about killing herself on her twelfth birthday in about 165 days. In the meantime downstairs, Renee(Josiane Balasko), the concierge, goes about her daily business. So, as one old tenant dies, Kakuro(Togo Igawa) arrives to take his place, along with a love of literature. Well, you certainly have to give "The Hedgehog" this much. As unique as it is, equally combining sweetness and darkness, the movie gets right to the heart of the matter by grabbing the viewer's attention right away and gently never letting go. Overall, with its references to multiple art forms, including literature, movies and painting, the movie is about the imagination, with a character at the center who has an overactive one while ironically not being able to imagine much of a future for herself, just as Kakuro and Renee indirectly remind her that it may never be too late. At the same time, the viewer has to use his imagination to think about what Paloma's life may be outside of the apartment building where the movie is entirely set except for a brief visit to the cleaners. Not that it is her fault, but I think her depression comes from being bullied on the playground, as her kind of precociousness and weirdness never go over well there. Plus, we never see any friends in the apartment.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer


This is a very good and intelligent film dealing with a very intelligent little girl who chooses to end her life on her 12th birthday rather than grow up to be mediocre like her parents and the people around her. The movie looks at how this little girl looks at life and death as, practically, meaningless and how the events during the film help change her viewpoint on these issues. It also looks at this woman, Renee, who hides herself and her incredible intelligence and sensitivity away from the world and seeing how she comes out of her shell when she meets a very wise and intelligent Japanese man. It's actually really lovely to see this romance between these two people and seeing Renee become the woman she could have always been. The film is also funny and insightful and the ending, while certainly unexpected, was very touching and poignant. Of course the film is topped off by excellent performances from Josiane Balasko and Garance LeGuillermic as Renee and Paloma respectively. The strength in Garance's performance come from her confidence in the role. Usually these types of roles, with a very intelligent kid, can come across as annoying or unlikable but Garance does a great job at avoiding that. She plays the role as a girl who's incredibly smart who's just wondering about life and what it all really means. Never does she come across as unlikable or annoying, just as a curious girl who's simply trying to figure out her place in the world. So yea this is a pretty great film, it has some pacing problems but that is a relatively minor complaint. I'd definitely recommend this film.

Jesse Ortega
Jesse Ortega

Super Reviewer


This is an odd movie with a touching story, adapted from the international best seller The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I have to say that I never heard of the French filmmaker Mona Achache before, and my surprise was very pleasant, smart, funny and warm film! The story is told by the 11 year-old Paloma (Garance Le Guillermic) and is telling us that she has decided that life is not worth living, and that most of the people around her exist in a pointless fishbowl that will only end in suffering. She informs us that she intends to end her life on her twelfth birthday, which will take place in 153 days... and everything starts rolling from there in a real tour de force! Paloma is adorable even with her round eyeglasses and striped shirt, carrying a video camera wherever she goes. She is documenting the ridiculous and therefore tragic lives of the fishbowl people she lives among. The other two major characters in the story are the elderly Japanese man Kakuro Ozu (Togo Igawa) who moves into Paloma's building, and the building's janitor Rene Michel (Josiane Balasko), an overweight woman with no friends and a cat. Somehow, this trio (melancholic Japanese man, the depressive Paloma, and the gruff Hedgehog - janitor Rene) manage to bring out the best in each other. Charming performances, very well directed, perfect story - and here it is: one of the films you'll remember forever! Do not miss it!

Panta Oz
Panta Oz

Super Reviewer

The Hedgehog Quotes

News & Features