Passed by the Cannes and Annecy festivals, with success, “Le Petit Nicolas – What are we waiting for to be happy?” arrives at the cinema. And this animated film is likely to please the whole family.
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Once upon a time – Leaning over a large white sheet somewhere between Montmartre and Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Jean-Jacques Sempe and Rene Goscinny give life to a laughing and mischievous little boy, Little Nicolas. Between camaraderie, arguments, fights, games, nonsense, and punishments galore, Nicolas lives a childhood full of joys and learning.
As the story progresses, the boy slips into the workshop of his creators, and challenges them with humor. Sempé and Goscinny will tell him about their meeting, their friendship, but also their journeys, their secrets and their childhood.
What they will love – The world of Petit Nicolas, which hits the mark at all ages. And it is all the more obvious in this feature film which manages to capture its essence, both by taking up the style of the drawings of the late Sempé and the spirit instilled by the stories signed Goscinny. A class photo or a fishing session that invariably ends in a general fight, the hero’s reactions when a girl interferes in his life, the character of each of his classmates…
There are plenty of opportunities to (smile) laugh. And children familiar with the universe will be happy to find it on the big screen, while novices may fall in love with it. Anyway, there is therefore a good chance that many spectators will flock to the books after the session. Some of the less young could also be sensitive to the emotion that emerges from the film, through the relationship between Goscinny and Sempé (respectively voiced by Alain Chabat and Laurent Lafitte) or the recent death of the latter.
What may worry them – Nothing at all a priori. But they might be surprised at first, even disconcerted, to find that it is not really a pure and simple adaptation of the adventures of Little Nicolas, and will have the feeling of having missed one of the stories . Don’t panic, just let them know that this is also a story about the hero, and how his creators brought him to life.
Sequences between Goscinny and Sempé, written and put into images long before the death of the latter, which tackle several serious subjects, and in particular death and loneliness, which will be able to touch the most sensitive. But they give the film all its emotion, and recall the talent of the authors with Le Petit Nicolas, in their way of talking about serious things at the height of a child.
What they’ll hold deep inside – A mad desire to (re)read the adventures of Little Nicolas. Whether you are a connoisseur or a neophyte, the feature filmAmandine Fredon and Benjamin Massoubre will have the same effect on each of its spectators, and we can already expect a resurgence of books in bookshops. Because everyone is likely to want to reconnect with the universe of the hero on paper.
If only to find the sequences that will have made them laugh on the big screen. Or, for the older ones, to have another look at the character, thanks to what they will have learned about its creators. Also, the film is a reminder of the importance of friendship in a life, and children could cherish their classmates even more after their session. “What are we waiting for to be happy?”says the subtitle: no doubt that your family session is coming.