In an old house in Paris, that was covered in vines, twelve little girls lived in two straight lines. The smallest one in rain or shine was the fearless Madeline, and she is the heroine of this family comedy based on Ludwig Bemelmans' classic book series about a Parisian schoolgirl and her classmates.
The 12 little girls from Ludwig Bemelmans's "Madeline" stories are still in straight lines, but for the screen they've been taught to lisp. A picture-book prettiness pervades this too terribly sweet tale drawn from four Bemelmans books. Frances McDormand contributes her usually adept performance as Miss Clavel, and a production team not known for treacle has given the film a spare visual sophistication. Otherwise it is best watched by viewers who approach the material in a state of pre-adoration.
1998-07-10 | Janet Maslin | Read the New York Times Review of Madeline