Similar in Spirit to My Life as a Dog, the film The Grand Highway makes it clear that part of the delight of traveling back to childhood is to relive the astonishment of newly minted experiences. Claire, whose husband has left her, takes her nine-year-old son Louis to stay with her friends Marcelle and Pelo while she has a baby in Paris. The sheltered city boy is unprepared for the skinning of rabbits and other rural practices. And he is totally taken back by the couple's marital skirmishes. Still grieving over the death of their own child at birth, they compete for Louis' affection. Martine, a precocious 10-year-old tomboy, tutors him in the strange and sometimes wonderful ways of the world. She makes Louis feel special by sharing her secrets with him.

The Grand Highway is based on writer and director Jean-Loup Hubert's memories of his youth in Brittany village. His son's performance as Louis is a masterful mix of naive vulnerability and wide-eyed wonder. As the vixenish, fun-loving Martine, Vanesse Guedj is a total delight. The Grand Highway should prove irresistible to those who cherish return trips to childhood — especially those who concede taht the psychic weather during this stage of life is usually partly cloudy.