Last night, the whole household was unanimously craving a light, feel-good movie. We dug around in our archives and found one none of us had seen yet: the French movie “Le Petit Nicolas”.
Le Petit Nicolas is a 2009 French movie directed by Laurent Tirard based on a series of French children’s books by René Goscinny (Does the name ring a bell? Clue – Astérix!). The movie centers on the 8 year old Nicolas, his parents, his school, and his friends, and is set in the ‘50s. After learning that one of his friends has a new baby brother, Nicolas misreads his parents’ exchanges as signs that he, too, will get a baby brother soon. Having heard accounts (some real, most exaggerated) from his friends of how their own younger siblings ousted them of their spoilt only-child positions, Nicolas fears that his own future younger sibling will supplant him. What follows is Nicolas and his friends’ efforts to find the perfect way to get rid of the forthcoming baby.
The movie is shot from the perspective of the young Nicolas. I liked that there is neither an attempt to make it appeal to adults through an exaggerated child’s perspective, nor a version of how adults like to think children see the word. The humour is subtle and understated. It isn’t a loud, slapstick comedy, there are no painfully obvious jokes, and the characters go about their business with complete earnestness. The movie transports us for a short while into the world of these kids, with their firm, albeit inaccurate, beliefs, their untouched perspective of adult behavior, and their innocent shenanigans.
The acting by the whole cast is commendable. I liked that every character is well-developed. Each person has a well-defined personality, story and conduct. The visuals are not overwhelming, with understated beauty, and are very naturalistic. I liked that they let children be children, and not what we want them or would like them to be.
If you are looking for a subtly humourous, light, engaging, beautiful movie to be watched with the whole family, I highly recommend Le Petit Nicolas. I honestly have nothing negative to say about this well-made gem.