Director: Céline Sciamma
Cast: Gabrielle Sanz, Joséphine Sanz, Nina Meurisse, Margot Abascal, Stéphane Varupenne
Genre: Drama, Coming-of-age
72 minutes – French with English subtitles – 2021
8-year-old Nelly has just lost her beloved grandmother and is helping her parents clean out her mother’s childhood home. She explores the house and the surrounding woods where her mom, Marion, used to play and built the treehouse she’s heard so much about. One day her mother abruptly leaves. That’s when Nelly meets a girl her own age in the woods building a treehouse. Her name is Marion.
In this tender tale of childhood grief, memory and connection, Céline Sciamma continues to prove herself as one of the most accomplished and unpredictable contemporary French filmmakers with this follow up to Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019), demonstrating unique skill in taking us into the world of children.
This is not a children’s movie but one, instead, that records in exacting detail the unique perception, imagination and even the slower, more prolonged sense of time that defines how children experience the world.
Felicia Feaster, Riverfront Times
Petite Maman is what every film should be: powerfully, even arrestingly original; grounded in emotional truth; hyper-specific; deeply universal; strange; mesmerizing; and not a minute longer than necessary.
Michael O’Sullivan, Washington Post
Spellbinding… A moving jewel of a film about memory, friendship and kin… Céline Sciamma’s beautiful fairytale reverie is occasioned by the dual mysteries of memory and the future: simple, elegant and very moving. An artistic masterstroke on Sciamma’s part.
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Sciamma pours meaning into every move, every moment, every object, in a beautiful story about two daughters and two mothers, and what separates and bonds them.
Sean P. Means, The Movie Cricket
Impeccably directed and carefully structured… A beautiful ode to mother-daughter love… Sciamma delivers one of her warmest, most hopeful endings to date.
Orla Smith, The Film Stage