Film Review: Cafe de Flore (2011) 4/5 – Love it!

Café de Flore is a French film written and directed by Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallee, who is also known for The Young Victoria in 2009, C.R.A.Z.Y. in 2005 and Les mots magiques in 1998. Café de Flore has received generally good reviews from critics and audience. It’s won VFCC Award at Vancouver Film Critics Circle in 2012, Canadian Award at Atlantic Film Festival in 2011, and received a few nominations for Genie Award and Jutra Award.

There are two parallel narratives separated by time and space but interrelated in its personal relationships and sentiments.

The film began with the narrative in modern time where Antoine, a successful DJ, just divorced his childhood sweetheart, Carole, and was living together with his girlfriend Rose. The two daughters he had with Carole lived spent equal days with one parent in a week.

Carole was struggling with the lament for her ex-husband everyday,
suffering depression, insomnia and sleepwalking.

– ‘Mum, dad looks particularly good today. And he is wearing perfume.’
– ‘Don’t worry my kids. The fate between your dad and I is written in the stars.’

Antoine was deeply troubled by doubts and a sense of guilty as well.

-‘Even though I am happy now, I still feel like I’m fucked up somehow. Fucked up my life, my families. I don’t even deserve to life anymore.’

Meantime, Rose had to deal with distaste for her new life from others, especially from Antoine’s daughters and parents.

As the plot in the contemporary narrative developed, here came in the other narrative in 1969’s Paris.

Jacqueline insisted on keeping her newborn son Laurent who had Down syndrome, and therefore her husband abandoned her.

She decided to look after Laurent herself at any cost until the day he died. The intimacy between the mom and the son was the loveliest scene in the film, besides those nostalgic architectures and stone streets in Paris of the last century.

The tension started twisting when Laurent became obsessed with a girl at his age who had Down syndrome as well, and his attachment to that girl seemed to go beyond mere puppy love …

The film developed by switching between two independent narratives, and eventually drew a beautiful loop in its expressions

When I just walked out from the cinema I was highly impressed by its powerful performance (Carole and Jacqueline were the best delivered characters), beautiful soundtrack and haunting shot. However what I love most is how the film expresses questions about love, changes on the life, the way of “let it go” etc. Unlike some films on similar topics, Café de Flore not only posed doubts but also suggested answers through its ending. There are more things about the film worth pondering on. Over the time the film just settles in not only my mind but also the heart.The film developed by switching between two independent narratives, and eventually drew a beautiful loop in its expressions.

‘Do you believe in soul mates? … If it’s soul mates, it’s not supposed to end, right? It’s not supposed to happen twice in a lifetime …’

Here is the HD trailer of this film

By the way this girl’s photos on Tumblr and Instagram is the reason I would write a review about a film I watched more than 2 months ago. The feelings she delivers in the pics are strikingly similar to Rose’s, free-spirit, lovely, feminine yet strong and powerful. I love her photos.

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