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TIFF 2021: “Petite Maman”


Rating: 3 out of 5.

Some films do not need to be great to enjoy them, nor have scientifically explained facts you, as a regular audience, would agree or disagree with. Some films are too simple and straightforward. They are just fine as they are, even though at the end of the day, it would make no sense.

“Petite Maman” follows an eight-year-old girl, Nelly, who, after the passing of her dear grandmother and days away from her surgery, meets a girl who has a striking resemblance to her. As the two begin their friendship, it will reveal many interesting details, and a conclusion you won’t be able to predict.

From director Céline Sciamma, the plot of “Petite Maman” is as simple as it could get. The little girl goes to the old house of her grandma to be cleaned up by her parents. While the parents carry on with their stuff, the girl enjoys being at her mother’s childhood home. And when she finally finds the famous hut, she will get to know the long history of the past that will intersect with the future, which the little one must figure it out.

It sounds fabulous, doesn’t it? It actually is. “Petite Maman” was the film I least expected to watch during the Toronto International Film Festival, but glad I came across it. It is a slow burning drama with a running time short enough for you not to get bored. I should also note the performance of the Sanz sisters, who I personally will follow if they decide to continue their acting journey.

What is good about “Petite Maman” is that nothing is as simple as it may look. But it also does not complicate the concept, if an anxious and curious viewer demands answers. Its beauty lies in its simplicity. As it builds up a strong narrative, it provides an unusual conclusion I am sure you will enjoy. So be patient and give it a shot because it’s a decent indie film that deserves your attention more than you may give it credit for.

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