The life of a determined young girl is changed when she befriends her building's concierge, a solitary woman who is more than what she seems.


Mona Achache


Mona Achache (screenplay), Muriel Barbery (novel)
10 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Josiane Balasko ... Renée Michel
Garance Le Guillermic ... Paloma Josse
Togo Igawa ... Kakuro Ozu
Anne Brochet ... Solange Josse
Ariane Ascaride ... Manuela Lopez
Wladimir Yordanoff ... Paul Josse
Sarah Le Picard ... Colombe Josse
Jean-Luc Porraz Jean-Luc Porraz ... Jean-Pierre, le clochard
Mona Heftre Mona Heftre ... Madame Meurisse
Gisèle Casadesus ... Madame de Broglie
Samuel Achache Samuel Achache ... Tibère
Valérie Karsenti Valérie Karsenti ... La mère de Tibère
Stéphan Wojtowicz ... Le père de Tibère
Isabelle Sobelmann Isabelle Sobelmann ... Anna Arthens
Jeanne Candel Jeanne Candel ... La coiffeuse


Paloma is a serious and highly articulate but deeply bored 11-year-old who has decided to kill herself on her 12th birthday. Fascinated by art and philosophy, she questions and documents her life and immediate circle, drawing trenchant and often hilarious observations on the world around her. But as her appointment with death approaches, Paloma finally meets some kindred spirits in her building's grumpy concierge and an enigmatic, elegant neighbor, both of whom inspire Paloma to question her rather pessimistic outlook on life. Written by Dubai International Film Festival

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Let Life In.




Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Based on French bestseller "L'élégance du hérisson" by Muriel Barbery, 2006. See more »


When Paloma feeds the anti-depressant pill to the fish, the fish dies instantly. The fish would not die this fast. See more »


Renée Michel: Happy families are all alike.
Kakuro Ozu: Every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
[Quoting from Tolstoy's 'Anna Karenina']
See more »


Features The Munekata Sisters (1950) See more »


Requiem en Ré mineur: Confutatis maledictis
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (as W.A. Mozart)
Performed by the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra (as Orchestre Philharmonique de Slovaquie) and the Slovak Philharmonic Chorus (as Choeur Philharmonique de Slovaquie), conducted by Zdenek Kosler (as Zdeneck Kossler)
See more »

User Reviews

Exquisite French film. Impeccable.
12 December 2010 | by davidtraversa-1See all my reviews

This film is so good I wanted it to run forever. The unfolding of characters, especially Paloma --the 11 years old girl--and the Concierge of the building, are so masterful, that one seats there mesmerized waiting to see the new developments.

The concierge character is a tour de force. The way she starts, as an obscure caretaker, moving the trash cans of the rich neighbors out on the sidewalk --only five huge de luxe apartments at her charge-- retrieving the empty containers the next morning and always moody and dry (as she herself puts it to Paloma, the girl, "the perfect concierge" according to the accepted urban legend about concierges in people's mind), and then because of her unexpected interacting with that precocious girl and the impeccable Japanese new neighbor, her subtle but unstoppable changes are something to be seen (as are also the changes in Paloma and the perfect Japanese new neighbor).

The little girl's mother, psychoanalyzed and medicated, watering her plants and talking to them (I do it too) with much more love and infinite care than to her own daughter, is fully drawn in a very succinct and accurate way.

Paloma is left alone to her own devices, and they only consist of an old fashioned movie camera --her father's gift to her-- perennially in front of her face (she films everything that moves) and her drawings (delightful) where she expresses her most inner thoughts.

This is a perfect example of a French film --I ADORE this type of French cinema--where very little happens but in such an intimate and delicate communion with the viewer that it absorbs one's mind completely, and doesn't let go till the very end, in the most poignantly and unexpected possible way, as it's the case in the present film. See it, it's totally worth your while.

I only wish you'll enjoy it as much as I did. Precious.

31 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 36 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »



France | Italy


French | Japanese

Release Date:

3 July 2009 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Hedgehog See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$39,276, 21 August 2011

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed