Petite Maman (2022)

Petite Maman (2022)

A poignant, fairy-tale-like ode to the mother-daughter bond

The Very Best

8.8

Movie

France, United States of America
English, French, Portuguese
Drama, Family, Fantasy
2021
CÉLINE SCIAMMA, FEMALE DIRECTOR
Joséphine Sanz, Margot Abascal, Nina Meurisse
72 min

What it's about

After the death of her beloved grandmother, eight-year-old Nelly meets a strangely familiar girl her own age in the woods. Instantly forming a connection with this mysterious new friend, Nelly embarks on a fantastical journey of discovery which helps her come to terms with this newfound loss.

The take

Many films have tried to decipher the indecipherable bond between mothers and daughters. Lady Bird, Everything Everywhere All at Once, and Turning Red, to name a few, center on this particular relationship, which to outsiders may seem strange at best and dysfunctional at worst. How can mothers yell at their daughters one second and coddle them the next? How can daughters treat mothers like their best friend and enemy all at once? 

One of the best films to explore this complexity is Petite Maman, a fantasy-like film that brings together mother and daughter in a unique situation, forcing them both to regard the other in otherwise impossible ways. It succeeds where others haven’t precisely because it accepts that this relationship is beyond dissecting, and the only way to honor it is in the poignant, poetic, and otherworldly way that it does. It’s a quiet film that manages to say a lot, not least of which is that it’s okay to feel and love and hurt as much as one does.

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