French: Le Petit Nicolas
English: The Little Nicolas
By Jordanna Segal
1. a. The movie starts out in a classroom where the teacher asks the students to write an essay on what they want to be when they are older, but Nicolas has no answer because he loves his life how it is and wants no changes to his current way of living. Nicolas has a friend, Joachim, who's parents just had a baby boy. Nicolas's group of friends talk about how the Joachim is jealous of the newborn because he is afraid he will lose all of the attention and get sent to the woods, garage, or garden. Joachim says that the father started being nicer to the mother and took out the trash without nagging about it. Nicolas looked out of his bedroom early one morning and saw that his father was taking out the trash, so he concludes that he will have a new baby brother. He then goes on a mission to try and get his parents love and make sure that he won't be sent anywhere, but his mother is not pregnant.
After a couple of attempts at trying to get his parents more caring of him, he gets in trouble for doing bad things like messing up the house, and decides to run away. He gets scared and runs back home. The children continue to try to impress Nicolas's mother, so they try and get a cleaning service that costs 500 francs. They come up with ways to make money including getting a child to drink some sort of liquid to lift a car and playing Roulette with random people, but the people won and they ran away.
Soon after, Joachim comes with the newborn and shows him off saying how happy he is to have his brother. This makes Nicolas happy and excited because he still thinks that he is going to get a brother, but he isn't. This disappoints him greatly, so his father has to make weird faces and noises used odd objects to cheer his son up. One day, Nicolas comes home from work and his parents tell him that he is going to have a brother or a sister. It ends up being a girl, and Nicolas was expecting a boy so his plans of teaching his brother to play sports and boyish things were crushed. He soon gets jealous of his sister and insults her, but the parents and company take it as some funny comments. He figures out what he wants to do when he grows older: make people laugh.
b. This movie is a children's comedy
c. Director- Laurent Tirard
Actors- Main characters: Maxime Godart- Nicolas, Valerie Lemercier- Nicolas's mom, Kad Merad- Nicolas's dad, Vincent Claude- Alceste, Charles Vaillant- Geoffrey, Victor Carles- Clotaire, Benjamin Averty- Eudes, Germain Petit Damico- Rufus, Damien Ferdel- Agnan, and Virgile Tirad- Joachim.
Year produced- 2009
Awards- Nominated for three, but didn't win any. Award: Cinema Brazil Grand Prize- Nominated in 2011,
^"Le Petit Nicolas" movie poster^
^Movie trailer for "Le Petit Nicolas"^3.
4. a. Did you like the film? Why or why not?
To my surprise, I enjoyed the film. I enjoy the more happy movies, along with some action movies, and this was a happy, cheerful, and upbeat movie that was also a little comedic. The plot was easy to be like if you were to read the dialogue in English at the bottom of the screen. The movie provided unique characters including a fat kid, Alceste; a sleepy kid who's not very smart, Clotaire; a tattle tail, Agnan; and some children who's parents were rich, which includes: Geoffrey, Rufus, and Eudes. The movie makes it look like a normal school with a bunch of average kids having fun.
*Below shows the children in line to go back into school*
b. Was the film aesthetically beautiful? If yes, how so? If not, then why not?
The film was entertaining, but it was no masterpiece. The movie showed no signs of beauty, just immature humor that I found funny. For a film to be beautiful it should for one have a mature plot line that has some romances progressing in it. This movie was more along the lines of "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" or some other children movie made in America. A beautiful film should go down in history and be remembered for a long amount of time, and I believe that this movie may go down in history, but it wasn't beautiful as it showed little to no signs of beauty.
c. How does the film compare to an American film of a similar genre? How is it different?
This film shows similar plot lines, but in France they dress a lot fancier. If I had to compare this movie to an American move, it would have to be "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" because it shows school life. In "Le Petit Nicolas" the children were allowed much more privileges; such as, walking alone, roaming the streets with friends around the city, and being allowed to stay home alone. In "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" the main character is allowed much less privileges and the parents have rules that are clear, but in the French movie I saw no signs of rules being set and little discipline being displayed. They show similarities by both being about young children (they look about 7-9 years old in "Le Petit Nicolas") going off on their imaginations and ideas and playing tricks on the adults. Also, both movies are unrealistic because a child can't lift nor drive a car and I can't think of a school that has cheese on the basketball court that nobody touches because it will give you a form of "cooties."
d. What are three major themes that the film addresses? How are those themes played out?
The film adresses a child, Nicolas, wanting his parents love and attention. This is played out by having Nicolas cause trouble and destruction to the household, say strange things like if he could have 500 francs so his parents would make his brother live in the woods instead of himself to his father's boss, and eventually getting his way. Another theme is the theme of Nicolas wanting a baby brother after seeing his friend, Joachim, so happy with his baby brother. This plays out by Nicolas coming home and confronting his parents about being excited and happy for having a new sibling soon, but they disappoint him by saying that's not going to happen. Nicolas is unhappy with this news, but his father cheers him up at dinner by making funny faces and noises. Another theme would be Clotaire succeeding in school, or at least being able to answer a question correctly. Clotaire is not the brightest, nor is he the one to stay out of trouble, so and ongoing plot is him being able to answer a question in class because he sleeps and is sent into the corner. At the end of the movie he answers the question right. The answer was "La Seine."
e. What does this film show about the French culture? Be specific!
This movie shows that the French have a lot fancier uniforms than Americans do. An example would be the First Baptist uniform compared to shorts, a sweater vest or suit jacket, a collared shirt, and a bow tie or tie. In a driving scene it shows Nicolas's mother driving on the right side of a vehicle like they do in France. This movie didn't show the typical five meal a day eating schedule that France has, but instead showed heavy meals like America has. An example of this would be that they ate lobster and pasta. The school scenes showed that France's education is more strict than America's is and has more harsher punishments and advanced stuff for younger children.