Josiane Balasko

Mona Achache's THE HEDGEHOG

Article: Mona Achache's THE HEDGEHOG

I admit it. I hesitated on my in to watch Mona Achache’s THE HEDGEHOG (in select cities and making its last lap on the festival circuit). “Should I really do this?” I thought. Should I trust the French with a light comedy about a child obsessed with suicide? Hadn’t the Americans already proved that all efforts in this arena should cease post-HAROLD AND MAUDE? But in I went. And my expectations were spot on: a feel-good movie purportedly about darkness, but with very little darkness to be seen.

The casting of the eleven-year-old girl may have been the first misstep. A very skilled actor, Garance Le Guillermic’s craft was not the issue, it was simply her physicality that caused me to pause. Despite her best frown, perfected into a perma-grimace as bummer-child Paloma, this little girl has the architectural face of a Greek goddess and simply exuded light. I could not swallow that she was living under a black cloud…