The Fox And The Child (U)



Drama (2007)
94mins Fr

Starring: Bertille Noel-Bruneau
Director: Luc Jacquet
Writer(s): Luc Jacquet
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

A freckled, red-haired 10-year-old girl merrily traipses along a woodland path, surrounded by the colours of autumn, until she spies a fox. Enchanted by the majestic creature, who she christens Lily, the girl arrogantly decides to impose herself on this untouched wilderness. "I decided I would tame the fox... I had no idea it was the beginning of a great adventure," she confides excitedly. The girl spends long hours shadowing the fox, until a broken limb forces her to spend much of the winter at home, recuperating with a cast. When spring arrives, the meddlesome tyke gets her wish and she attempts to domesticate the fox, with truly horrific consequences.

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LondonNet Film Review
The Fox And The Child

Luc Jacquet, director of the Oscar-winning March Of The Penguins, heads for sunnier climes in this family feature, which smudges the line separating wildlife documentary from sentimental drama...

The Fox and the Child. PatheInspired by the filmmaker's bucolic childhood in the mountains of Ain, The Fox And The Child is a visually stunning valentine to changing seasons in a woodland community and the delicate balance between man and nature. The production spent six months in the Retord plateau and Abruzzes National Park in Italy, capturing footage of wild foxes in their natural habitat, documenting behavioural patterns which would then be integrated into the screenplay penned by Jacquet and Eric Rognard. Prosaic, omnipresent voiceover provides a direct link between the stunning imagery, captured by director of photography Gerard Simon, and young actress Bertille Noel-Bruneau as the pint-sized villager who learns to her cost that some creatures can never be tamed.

"My story started one day on the way to school. I remember it well. I was 10-years-old..." begins narrator Kate Winslet, relating the inner thoughts of a little girl (Noel-Bruneau) as she wanders along a path. The freckled, red-haired tyke merrily traipses along her usual route, surrounded by the colours of autumn, until a bend in the path where she spies a fox. Enchanted by the majestic creature, whom she christens Lily, the girl arrogantly decides to impose herself on this resplendent, unspoilt wilderness. "I decided I would tame the fox... I had no idea it was the beginning of a great adventure," she confides excitedly. The girl spends long hours shadowing the fox, until a broken limb forces the child to spend much of the winter at home, recuperating with a cast.

The Fox and the Child. PatheMeanwhile, the object of her obsession frolics in the snow. "I was free again after two months indoors," trills Winslet as the girl dashes into the springtime undergrowth in search of the fox, witnessing gorgeous scenes of everyday animal life involving playful badgers, otters, woodpeckers, frogs and even a bear. Eventually, the meddlesome urchin gets her wish and she attempts to domesticate the fox, with truly horrific and bloody consequences that will probably upset very young viewers and most parents too. "I confused possession with love," concludes Winslet ruefully. "They [foxes] have known for a very long time that we can never truly be friends."

The Fox And The Child is blessed with gorgeous cinematography and a haunting orchestral score but the flimsy storyline struggles to hold our interest for 94 minutes. Scenes of the girl pursuing her vulpine prey become a little repetitive, severely testing the patience of small children in the audience. Some of the gushing voiceover could be excised entirely ("You knew it would rain. How did you know that?"), allowing viewers to draw their own conclusions without being force-fed every emotion.

- Jo Planter


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