Animated films for children—and not so children—have us accustomed, in general terms, to stories that, beyond entertainment, offer a series of positive values or an evolution in their protagonists that enriches in a certain way the learning of age. Within these stories, the authors themselves tend to show opposing values so that it becomes clearer what is good and what is bad, helping to find a bit of a sense of justice and even discernment between good and evil. This, obviously, does not mean that it works or that by watching animated films children will become smarter, more empathetic or better educated. But something will do, I guess.
In the case of Nina and the Hedgehog’s Secret, despite the fact that the prominence of the characters and their objectives invite us to think about the adventure and little else, the presence of evil personified in the businessman—and his “inheriting companies”—and the practically constant presence of posters reminding that there has been a strike in the factory where the protagonist’s father worked confirms that this line related to positive values is also the starting point of the work of the French directors and screenwriters Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol.
An endearing and light film that focuses on the most classic values of friendship
With a progressive ideology that enshrines collectivism and solidarity, the reality is that Nina and the Hedgehog’s Secret is nothing more than an endearing and light film that focuses on the most classic values of friendship, loyalty and love, which do not require as much explanation as a strike. So much so that, despite its short duration (less than an hour and a half), one feels that there was not enough content to fill all the intended time, branching the narrative in different directions, all of them simple and basic, but with little meaning between them. In fact, so much so that the title of the film and the reference to the hedgehog is a bit strange, not because the hedgehog is not present enough, but rather because despite being present, it does not have a leading role. Is it a hormones “protomonster“? Is naivety and ingenuity turned into imagination and consciousness?
Actually, it doesn’t matter too much. The film, in the end, tries to talk about how “adult problems”—a layoff, unemployment, money—affect children, from the children’s point of view. It is clear that, along the way, not all decisions end up seeming correct, but it is understandable. After all, as a film, Nina and the Hedgehog’s Secret can’t help but be very French. And how could it not be, if the actors who voice the protagonist’s parents in the original version are Audrey Tautou and Guillaume Canet?
An elegant film far from the most commercial animation, which focuses on the impact that adult life (and capitalism) has on children
Anyway, to the important thing: Nina and the Hedgehog’s Secret is an elegant film far from the most commercial animation, which focuses on the impact that adult life (and capitalism) has on children, but which is not capable of address all these problems clearly. In all the detours along the way, it maintains the type in its pretensions of entertainment, ignoring in some parts the most serious part perhaps for fear that somehow the plot would stop being “childish” and, therefore, remaining in a place intermediate between mere entertainment and the rest. Again, all very French, which is neither good nor bad, like the end of the story. A little bit of the “we’ll see” of a lifetime…
(Madrid, 1987) Novelist by vocation, SEO specialist by profession. Music lover, cinephile and reading lover, but in “amateur” mode.