Pamela, a mature for her age 11-year-old, is fed up with the "fish bowl" life which she sees all around her. Desperate to not end up like another "fish" trapped in the bowl, she has decided to end her life on her 12th birthday. Using an old camcorder to chronicle the hypocrisy she sees in adults, Pamela begins to discover that there is more to life than she originally thought, due mostly to a budding unlikely friendship between Renee, the building concierge, and herself. Mona Achache's The Hedgehog is a light, unique coming of age story that centers around the transformation of a pessimistic young woman who finds solace in the most unlikely of sources. It is not a particularly profound film, touching on some interesting themes of destiny versus will, but the film never goes too deep into the matter. While Paloma is the main protagonist structurally, Renee provides much of the emotional baggage of the film, whose transformation I found much more touching. Being the building concierge, Renee is looked down upon by her residents, leaving her feeling alone and useless. A lesson in not judging a book by its cover, Renee is a smart woman who just seems to be stuck, that is until Kakuro, a wealthy Japanese man moves in. The two live lonely lives, leading to a budding romance which is extremely touching, with character feelings, situations and emotions all feeling very genuine. Ultimately, I wish the film would have been more profound in its examination of life and death, but instead The Hedgehog opts for a light-hearted sweet film about hope in life.
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