1. Natalie Portman.
I’ve got to admit this is a personal issue with Portman, but she just ruins the film for me (Don't disrespect the Portman. She's great - evlkeith). On the face of it she’s attractive, well cast, and for one so young, a precocious talent. In reality you just get the sense that she knows how good she is and gives off the feeling that she’s a smug show off (for 'smug show off' read 'talented' - evlkeith). An attitude she transmits in all her films.
Apart from the two leads, all the characters are essentially stereotypes. This is especially true of Gary Oldman’s villain and Danny Aiello’s mafia boss. This is not always a bad thing, but in this case it gives the film a cartoony and shallow feel. At times, it's as if you're watching Matilda by Roald Dahl and Miss Trunchbull will appear and pummel Leon to death before he can shoot anyone.
3. It's uncomfortable viewing
Although the film treads a fine line with it's portrayal of the relationship between Leon and Matilda, it never steps over it. It plays the whole thing with a straight bat which is no bad thing, but the whole thing is still uncomfortable viewing the first time you watch the film.
To summarise: it's an average, shallow and uncomfortable viewing experience. Throw that show off Natalie Portman into the equation and it pushes the film's score somewhat below average. I'm beginning to doubt the rationale behind a Besson season (Me too. What were you thinking? - evlkeith)
(Despite the fairly duff review the average rating for the season has soared to a massive 3/10. Things are on the up for Mr Besson.)
If you like this you could also try:
Nikita, Ronin, Fargo.