TIFF Review: Petite Maman Is A Thoughtful Exploration Of A Mother-Daughter Bond

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TIFF Review: Petite Maman Is A Thoughtful Exploration Of A Mother-Daughter Bond

Supported by fantastic central performances, Sciamma paints a deeply thoughtful and compassionate story of grief and love that resonates emotionally.

Céline Sciamma’s follow-up to 2019’s Portrait of a Lady on FirePetite Maman, is an intimate exploration of a mother-daughter relationship with a small dose of magical realism. It doesn’t deter the story from being one that is incredibly grounded and heartwarming. Supported by fantastic central performances, Sciamma paints a deeply thoughtful and compassionate story of grief and love that resonates emotionally. 

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After losing her grandmother, eight-year-old Nelly (Joséphine Sanz) heads with her mother (Nina Meurisse) and father (Stéphane Varupenne) to clean out the home where she lived. It’s difficult for Nelly’s mother to revisit her childhood home and, overcome with emotion, she leaves the packing to Nelly and her dad. As Nelly explores the grounds around the house, she crosses paths with Marion (Gabrielle Sanz, Joséphine’s real-life sister), an eight-year-old who bears a striking resemblance to Nelly. As the two forge a friendship, Nelly begins to piece together that Marion is actually her mother and their relationship adds depth to Nelly’s understanding of her family in the aftermath of loss. 

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