"Sadistic direction: placing demands too high on child actors."
A four-year-old girl suffers the loss of her mother in a car accident, and is left with extended family to cope alone as her father goes away on business.No doubt an amazing and even heart-wrenching performance by wee Victoire Thivisol, as she is perpetually expected to cry and wrestle with emotions foreign and uncharacteristic for children to have to go through. Great demands are placed on Thivisol, who is obviously quite cogent and capable, though one wonders the extent of her coaching and the grasp of understanding she attained. But any sense of accomplishment ends there; for all Ponette stands to be is a collection of intimate moments of a woebegone petite fils filmed almost exclusively in claustrophobic close-ups, nearly causing the lens to fog up from its close proximity to the actors’ faces (predominantly Thivisol). And director Jacques Doillon can be viewed as sadistic for his repeated and consistent demands for the little girl to be so morose and pensive, almost spending the entire running time pouting, frowning, wrinkling her brow and wiping her nose. The performance hardly seems inspirational enough to subject a child to all that.
With Delphine Schiltz, Matiaz Bureau Caton, Léopoldine Serre, Xavier Beauvois and Marie Trintignant.[Not to be bothered with.]