Petite Maman

image for Petite Maman

Short takes

Not suitable under 5; parental guidance to 10 (themes, subtitles). May lack interest under 15.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Petite Maman
  • a review of Petite Maman completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 14 June 2022.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not suitable due to themes.
Children aged 5–10 Parental guidance recommended due to themes and subtitles.
Children aged 11–14 Ok for this age group but likely to lack interest.
Children over the age of 14 Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Petite Maman
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes
Length: 73 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

When Nelly’s (Josephine Sanz) grandmother (Margot Abascal) dies in a nursing home, Nelly and her parents go to say goodbye and then head to the home where her mother (Nina Meurisse) grew up, to pack her grandmother’s belongings. Nelly’s mother struggles with confronting the past and eventually takes off, leaving her husband (Stephane Varupenne) and daughter to finish for her. While her dad tackles closets and bookcases, Nelly searches the woods for the fabulous fort her mother built and somehow crosses paths with Marion, (Gabrielle Sanz) a friendly neighbour who also happens to be the 8-year-old version of her mother. Together they work at building the fort, and Nelly also gets a chance to know a younger version of her grandmother. When Nelly confides in Marion, telling her that she is her future daughter, the girls are able to comfort and reassure each other and find themselves far better prepared to face the immediate challenges that lay before them.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Death; Separation from a parent; Illness and hereditary disabilities.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie, including:

  • A character in a play is mentioned to have died under suspicious circumstances.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

  • None noted.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Nelly wakes up one morning to find that her mother has gone. Her father is still there helping sort out the grandmother’s house but he doesn’t know when she will be back and Nelly is worried that she may not come back at all. It is not scary but there is an air of tension and uncertainty that hangs over Nelly.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Coca-Cola is specifically mentioned twice.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Marion pretends to be a character that has had a lovechild with a man (played by Nelly) who didn’t know she was pregnant.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Nelly’s dad smokes a cigarette.
  • Marion’s mum drinks wine with her dinner.

Coarse language

  • None noted.

In a nutshell

Petite Maman is a slow-paced, French drama with English subtitles. The film features beautiful cinematography and believable performances by all cast members but will likely lack interest for most children. There is minimal dialogue; instead viewers feel the emotion of what is often left unsaid and watch as one family processes the loss of a loved one. The film will be most enjoyed by older, more mature, audiences.

The main messages from this movie are that life can be difficult and death heartbreaking but it is the people we love and the experiences we share that make our journeys worthwhile.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Creativity
  • Friendliness
  • Compassion
  • Forgiveness
  • Love.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children the importance of spending time together and getting to know grandparents and those of older generations, as life is precious and fleeting.