Filmmaker Michel Gondry turns from the playful semi-surrealism of ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND and THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP to the personal story of a beloved family member in this documentary. Suzette Gondry is Michel's aunt and a retired schoolteacher; she educated children in rural communities in France from 1952 to 1986. While Suzette was committed to the education of all her students, she was a particularly close with one in particular -- her son, Jean-Yves, with whom she's had a loving but sometimes combative relationship. Michel accompanies Suzette on a journey in which she visits the many schools where she taught -- or the sites where those schools once stood -- and speaks of her experiences. She also meets some of her former students, and it's clear they recall Suzette as a woman with a kind heart but a strong will, and her determination earned her the enmity of a few of her charges. L'EPINE DANS LE COEUR (aka THE THORN IN THE HEART) was an official selection at the 2009 BFI London Film Festival.
"THE THORN IN THE HEART's home-movie-style images are frequently lovely and the film has flashes of poignancy..." - 04/01/2010 A.V. Club
"THORN is about as personal a project as you'll see from a major filmmaker: a documentary portrait of Mr. Gondry's formidable Aunt Suzette, a family linchpin and former schoolteacher..." - 04/02/2010 New York Times
"Gondry captures the leafy radiance of the countryside, and he makes judicious use of special-effects whimsies." - 05/13/2010 Los Angeles Times
3 stars out of 5 -- "[A]n intimate documentary about the maverick film-makers's aunt....It consists of nostalgic interviews..." - 01/01/2011 Uncut
"THE THORN IN THE HEART is an attempt to preserve on film the much loved matriarch of his extended family, both providing a warm tribute to her while she's still around to appreciate it, and bottling the memory of her for the ages." - 01/01/2011 Sight and Sound
4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] quiet yet enthralling mediation on family life..." - 12/10/2010 Empire
3 stars out of 5 -- "Michel Gondry turns documentary-maker in this subtle, affectionate portrait of his aunt Suzette..." - 01/01/2011 Total Film