Watch Kids' Reviews of

What to know:
Recommended age 5-12
73 minutes
Listen to reviews on our radio show Listen to KIDS FIRST! Radio Coming Attractions on VoiceAmerica
PETITE MAMAN cover image Click to play video trailer
Petite Maman is a warm bundle of cinematic magic. Director Celina Sciamma's French coming of age sci-fi hybrid never gets too bogged down in tedious specifics of its fantastical set-up. Petit Maman bends time to tell the story about the bond between a daughter and her mother that transcends it.

Petite Maman, which I had the pleasure of seeing at the Middleburg Film Festival, centers itself around a little girl named Nelly (Josephine Sanz) and her family, reeling after the death of a loved one, as they spend some time in Nelly's mother's childhood home. Nelly's mother leaves the family behind in the midst of the immense grief she's suffering, leaving her husband and daughter with little idea of when she'll return. In the meantime, Nelly ventures into the woods, where she meets and begins to pal around with a young girl, who she learns, by some twist of cosmic fate, is a much younger version of her own mother, who faces trials of her own. A single stretch of woods bridges decades between them. Together, they try to help each other cope in these moments of personal turmoil and Nelly can maybe get to understand why her mother left and what she's going through. This movie quite literally follows its two leads after their meeting, making food, building forts, making believe. Petit Maman uses those pastimes of youth to hit audiences with a surprisingly layered exploration of something as monumental as grief from a kid's perspective.

I loved, loved, loved the setup of this movie--it doesn't ever seek to explain how Nelly and this younger version of her mother meet in terms of time and space, but it uses that heightened concept to speak to something more human. Here, two children reckon with fear and their powerlessness in the conflicts they face, and in the comfort and security they give each other lies the courage to face them.

The lesson of Petite Maman is just to be there for the people you love in times of great difficulty.

I give Petite Maman 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. It's an understated, but moving little gem that I hope doesn't escape people's radar. Petite Maman is currently streaming on various VOD platforms including iTunes and Vudu.

Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

see youth comments
C�line Sciamma continues to prove herself as one of the most accomplished and unpredictable contemporary French filmmakers with her follow up to PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE, the uniquely emotional, PETITE MAMAN. Following the death of her beloved grandmother, 8-year-old Nelly accompanies her parents to her mother's childhood home to begin the difficult process of cleaning out its contents. As Nelly explores the house and nearby woods, she is immediately drawn to a neighbor her own age building a treehouse. What follows is a tender tale of childhood grief, memory and connection.
You too can become a film critic!
KIDS FIRST! Goes Local: Submit a review & win!
Kid Critic video review by

Entertainment News for Kids:
Join KIDS FIRST! on Twitter Join KIDS FIRST! on YouTube Join KIDS FIRST! on Instagram Join KIDS FIRST! on Tik Tok Join KIDS FIRST! on Facebook