Parents' Guide to

Petite Maman

By Danny Brogan, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Tender French fantasy drama explores grief; brief smoking.

Movie PG 2022 72 minutes
Petite Maman movie poster

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This fantasy drama is the follow-up to director and writer Céline Sciamma's superb and much-lauded Portrait of a Lady on Fire. As with that movie, Petite Maman is essentially a two-hander. But whereas the former was an exploration of love and sexuality, this is a far more innocent adventure, although it doesn't shy away from difficult subjects. At the center of the film are two mesmerizing performances from real-life twins, Joséphine and Gabrielle Sanz. The chemistry between the two, as you might expect, feels authentic and natural. A scene where Nelly and Marion playfully bake in a kitchen acts as one of several reminders of the innocence of youth.

The film explores a multitude of themes, including death, grief, parenthood, and even depression. Yet these are all seen through the eyes of the two 8-year-old girls, which strips the themes back, making them more digestible. The film has a dreamlike quality. It doesn't have a linear timeline, and much of what happens is open to interpretation, both of which may confuse or bother some. What is without question is that it's beautifully shot and has a soundtrack to boot. Petite Maman will provide most with plenty to think about or will at least usher people into seeing things differently. Be that as a reminder to adults of what it was like to be a child or to kids that their parents were once children too.

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