Café de Flore (2011) Poster

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"It's in the stars"
Carus Productions10 October 2011
Firstly, disregard the two previous reviews, for they are both negative and underrate a great film. 'Cafe de Flore' is not quite for everyone, which I can understand. However if you truly want to see this film, ignore other opinions, otherwise you will miss out on a potential Oscar nomination.

There are two separate stories occurring. One is about a woman in the 1960s (Paradis) who has to raise her son on her own, because he has Down's syndrome. The other is about a music jockey named Antoine (Parent) who is ready to marry again despite the bond he shares with his ex-wife, who was also his first love. His eldest daughter purposely plays certain songs which remind him of their marriage, since the central idea is how music recalls certain memories. Every time a certain song is heard in the background, one is bound to step inside the characters memories.

The other story is the beauty of a mother-son relationship. Paradis is genuine in this role, especially being a real-life mother herself. Her makeup ages her to portray her role well. We see how she encourages her boy to learn despite his disabilities. Remember, this was an era where children like him were discriminated and often sent to institutions.

'Cafe de Flore' is truly a story about the power of love. You have to follow closely, therefore if easily distracted the flashbacks may confuse you. The constant repetition of Pink Floyd, which was also a signature band for Jean-Marc Vallee's 'C.R.A.Z.Y.', is synchronized to perfection. The visuals and acting performances are moving, as the film unfolds by layer, to at last reveal how both stories are connected.
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10/10
Transcendent. Sublime.
(Read the full review at nickplusmovies.blogspot.com)

Jean-Marc Vallée returns to his beloved Québécois roots with his latest work, "Café de flore", one of the many films that screened at TIFF back in September (and that I was lucky enough to see). The story is composed of two interwoven narratives that-- only at first glance-- seem completely unrelated to one another.

The first story is set in present-day Montreal and centers on a recently divorced father of two girls, Antoine Godin (Kevin Parent), who leads a successful life as a professional DJ. Despite having found true happiness in his relationship with his girlfriend Rose (Evelyne Brochu), he feels a little remorseful for having left his ex-wife Carole (Hélène Florent), for whom he still cares deeply. Antoine understands that she continues struggling to move on with her life, heartbroken. And to make the situation in which they find themselves even more difficult, their eldest daughter persistently plays their nostalgic love song with hopes of reuniting her parents.

The second story is set in Paris in 1969 and focuses on Jacqueline (Vanessa Paradis), a self-sufficient, loving single mother who becomes the embodiment of perseverance and selflessness as she promises to devote herself both physically and spiritually to her son Laurent, who has been diagnosed with Down syndrome. She spends every minute of spare time with her beloved young boy with the goal to elongate his limited life expectancy. One day, when Laurent begins to be infatuated by Véronique, a new girl in his class-- who, incidentally, also has Down syndrome-- Jacqueline is struck by an overwhelming feeling as she fears that her inseparable bond with the only person she loves will be be lost with time.

Up until the very end of the film, it seems like the only link between both stories is the music the characters listen to (the jazz album "Café de flore" appears in the second story while a certain remix is featured in the first one), but as we progress further into this mystical mystery, we learn that there is something much deeper tying together the characters and their stories of love and loss.

Knowing that "Café de flore" would be composed of intertwined stories, I was initially a little reluctant to seeing it and very worried that its structure would collapse within the first few minutes of the film. To my pleasant surprise, this modern approach to storytelling proved to be ultimately rewarding. I believe credit is due to the film editor, who is-- believe it or not-- Jean-Marc Vallée, again. It's nice to hear that he had control of almost every visual aspect of his own work of art. With Vallée's perfectly orchestrated editing, the audience is able to follow the story without ever sensing an abrupt switch between story lines. In the film's entirety, not once did I feel that some scenes were fragmented or disjointed from others. Vallée always progresses deeper into his creation by carefully and seamlessly shifting between narratives just at the right time, creating a smooth, fluid tempo. Briefly, everything flows like a river.

Just like in "C.R.A.Z.Y.", music is a vital element to this film. Jean- Marc Vallée selects many tunes with ethereal, ambient qualities to match the profound thoughts and feelings of all the characters. While he features some more Pink Floyd ("Speak to Me/Breathe"), he makes of Sigur Ros's "Svefn-g-englar" the film's most haunting musical piece-- by far.

There are far too many impressive performances in "Café de flore" to name. Vallée must be what one would call an "actor's director", because he seems to continuously squeeze out the most confident, natural performances from all of his actors-- young or old-- in order to achieve his goal to craft a realistic family drama. He even went to the lengths of finding two children who have Down syndrome in real life for the roles of Laurent and Véronique (these are two "performances" that will make your jaw drop). This is proof of his everlasting adherence to realism as a filmmaker.

In sum, "Café de flore" is a sensual, deeply touching chef-d'oeuvre that will have you shivering every minute in pure emotional awe. It never comes across as overly sentimental, but rather genuinely heartfelt. I can't recall the last time I found myself on the verge of tears while simultaneously smiling at the bittersweet beauty of a film. Come to think of it, there isn't a single movie from 2011 that I could recommend seeing more than this one. I believe it's an essential viewing for anyone who has felt the most fundamental of human emotions. (That means you... I hope)
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10/10
A haunting experience
Howard Schumann4 December 2011
"If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it's yours forever. If it doesn't, it wasn't meant to be." – Anonymous

Love is about holding on to someone, but it is also about knowing when to let go. This theme defines Jean-Marc Vallée's Café de flore, his second film since the 2005 hit C.R.A.Z.Y., and one of the most poignant films in recent memory. Not only does Café de flore repeat Vallée's earlier success, but goes far beyond it in its extraordinary ability to capture the intensity of deeply-felt human emotion. The title refers not to the famous Paris café, but to a jazzy song with the same name that serves as a connection between each of the film's two parallel stories. In addition to the title song, music plays a large role in the film as it did in C.R.A.Z.Y. with songs from Pink Floyd, Sigur Rós, and The Cure supporting key points in the narrative.

Unfolding with a non-linear script that includes multiple flashbacks, flash-forwards, and cross-cutting, the stories take place in two time periods over forty years apart. In the present day, Antoine (Kevin Parent) is a well-to-do middle-aged disc jockey who lives in a suburban home with his partner Rose (Evelyne Brochu) and his two daughters from a former marriage (Joanny Corbeil-Picher, Rosalie Fortier). Everything looks wonderful on the surface except that Antoine is visiting a psychiatrist to handle his feelings about what he feels is betrayal of his family. Antoine's first wife Carole (Hélène Florent) is distraught and yearns for reconciliation with the man she has always thought of as her soul mate since they came together as teenagers out of a shared love of music.

Carole is urged by friends to let go of Antoine and move on, but she is obsessed with getting him back, telling her friend, "I've never kissed another man." She takes drugs to help her sleep, sleepwalks in the middle of the night, and has dreams and waking visions of a strange woman in Paris many years ago experiencing a similar pain in her relationship. To help her understand her visions, Carole visits a spiritual adviser who tells her that her dreams are not a coincidence. The parallel story is set in Paris in 1969, Jacqueline (Vanessa Paradis), a single mother cares for her young son Laurent (Lucas Bonin) who was born with Down's syndrome. She was abandoned by her husband after Laurent's birth because he did not want to be a "missionary."

Jacqueline is a devoted mother, showering her son with love, and intending to ensure that he lives past the norm of twenty-five years for a person with his condition. When she enrolls him in a normal school, she constantly protects him from bullies and also from teachers who are not willing or able to deal with him. Jacqueline wants to train Laurent to defend himself by learning how to box but, when he rebels at the idea, she teaches him to strike back through words which he uses to peak efficiency at the right moment.

When Laurent is seven, he develops a close attachment to Veronique, another Down's syndrome child, an attachment that threatens his mother's obsessive protection and leads to an unforeseen turn in their relationship. Café de flore is a passionately performed and spiritually resonant film, one of the best I've seen this year. Reminiscent of Terence Malick's Tree of Life with its voice-overs reflecting the inner thoughts of the characters, it is a haunting experience and the mystical connection between its two stories will keep you in a Donnie Darko-like state of puzzlement long into the night and beyond.
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10/10
A Unique and Rewarding Film Experience
tgreen-233-1753118 December 2011
If you can make the leap of faith required in the final portion of the movie, this is a beautiful, haunting work that will stay with you long after you have left the theater. There is no question that this movie asks a lot of one's suspension of disbelief. But I think that movie goers should give it the benefit of a doubt. This is a very unconventional love story, and it may be the most thoughtful movie every made about the idea that one person can be another person's soul mate. The tension of course arises when what does one do when one finds a deeper, more meaningful soul mate. This is a complex work with a totally different way of investigating its romantic themes. It uses music beautifully as a thread that joins elements of the film together, binding emotional themes together and providing transitions between the two stories that it tells. I can't think of another movie that finds such an unique approach to telling its tale.It is also the best Canadian film that I have seen in years. One of the very best movies of the year.
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10/10
Till Fate Do Us Apart
purple_8113 July 2012
I scared myself when I cried with the Sigur Ros song in the film, out of blue, in the dark cinema with only 3 other strange people there.

This is a film about dream and love, and what are you supposed to do if your dream is all about the one you love, and what if you spend all your life protecting a dream that never meant to belong to you. This is the question in front of Jacqueline and Carole. After all, having a dream that connected to human beings is a dangerous thing to do.

Using two parallel story lines is no more a novelty in film making. Yet the film does not give us much information on the relation between the two very different stories—a single mother, Jacqueline, with her Down's syndrome son, Laurent, in 1960s and a couple (Carole and Antonio) facing betrayal and the sequential mental stress today. The only correlations between them are Carole's strange dreams and "Cafe de Flore"—the songs with the same name that people from two spaces and times happened to play. Two and a half hours is a long duration for an independent art film, and in most of the time, these two stories are separately told, slowly and beautifully, and I thought maybe that's it, there would be no overlap between the two stories, until Carole figured out her connection with the mother and son from the last life.

I watched Cafe de Flore by myself in a small cinema in the suburb of London. Tranquillity is all you need when encountering a beautiful film like this. Crying like a baby in the cinema, I had to sit there for a while until the film credits finished in order to give myself some time to look normal before going out. And the film is such a great comfort for some reason, it's cathartic.

The original soundtrack is another important reason to make the film so moving. Interestingly, Sigur Ros's music video svefn-g-englar featured with Down's syndrome dancers, could be the initial inspiration of Cafe de Flore?
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Amazing, Amazing, Amazing.
elizabeth-snead8 November 2011
All i can say is that I loved this film. Just saw it last night. it's a challenging, intriguing, mesmerizing, intoxicating look at love through two intertwined, overlapping stories -- set in past and present and both in different time periods -- about a man going through a divorce and the mother of a down's syndrome child. You can't explain it. You have to experience it. And whether you believe in past lives or not (i don't and the director says he doesn't either), you will go on an unsettling emotional journey watching this visually stunning, amazingly acted movie. Vanessa Paradis is heartbreaking and almost unrecognizable. The addictive Cafe de Flore music inspired the director to write, direct and edit this film himself. The score is modern, mind-blowing but also includes some classic rock, including some from Pink Floyd.
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A film that haunts you afterwords
tandrei20016 June 2012
IMHO there are two categories of movies: the ones that impress me when I see it, like Hollywood blockbusters which shock me with stunning visual effects, or action scenes, or dramas. There is another category, that don't produce much of an impression when I see it, I get even bored wondering myself why did I pay the ticket for it. But.. suddenly after a couple of hours, or days, they become alive inside me and haunt me after. "Cafe De Flore" is one of those! It doesn't have a story to tell, it is pure art. The authors plant a seed that is intended to grow inside the viewer. It doesn't try to convince you of anything, doesn't draw a conclusion in the end, just places frame after frame and leave the interpretation to you. I would rate it 8 out of 10. regards, Andrei
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10/10
A heartbreaking and redeeming look at love. Elegantly executed.
Ana Maria A8 March 2012
Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. I usually dislike indie films and their lack of plot (Las Acacias) or often, even endings.

This was a real movie, about real emotions, and really imperfect individuals. Beautiful energy as added with the music, the emotions were aptly and strongly felt with its aid.

The subplot of past lives makes one wonder whether or not one believes in it, and if so how much? Just breathtaking. Even if you don't love it as much as I do, it is a worthy film worth viewing and giving an open hearted chance to. Who knows? You might be moved, you hard nosed cynicist, you :)
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2/10
Just another narcissistic tale
hethomps8 February 2014
This film is visually beautiful, the acting superb. However, I don't recommend it. The "mystical" connection between the two story lines absolutely does not work. The story line with Jacqueline is touching, and occupies far too little of the screen time. Vanessa Paradis is amazing, and her interactions with her son are touching and sad, as you recognize her life revolves completely around him as see struggles to raise him alone after his father leaves. On the other hand, I found the misogynistic tale of Antoine very off-putting. A narcissistic man leaves his beautiful, intelligent wife of 20 years for a vapid, tattooed, insecure younger woman with whom he appears to have no common interest other than sex. How original. Great role model he is for his teenage daughter, who hates him, by the way. Big surprise. Unfortunately, the daughter is the only female who stands up to him and calls him out for the cochon that he is. The other women in his life are just waiting with bated breath to see whether he chooses to allow them to continue making him the center of their worlds. I am really tired of this story line having seen it too many times, and I didn't enjoy this film as a result.
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7/10
Strange parallels beautifully filmed
Toxiceye25 April 2012
Cafe de Flore proposes two somewhat strange parallel story lines, that of a single mother of a Down's Syndrome boy in 1960's Paris, alongside that of a narcissistic professional DJ living in modern day Montreal, Canada. Throughout the film I expected these two disparate stories to somehow meet in some tangible form, but this part of the film remains a bit of a mystery... perhaps staying in some kind of spiritual realm. That aspect of the film is somewhat confusing, and may be a bit off-putting to many viewers. I thought it a bit strange, but overall I think this is a great film. Even though this parallel story line is pretty bizarre, the filming, especially the Paris scenes, are superb, the acting is great, and the connection between mother and son is incredible. I thought the character of the young Down's syndrome girl could have been fleshed out a bit more, but apart from that its a very watchable film with great music and well crafted performances. Nice work.
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10/10
Beautiful and touching
Philippe Theriault27 February 2012
This film is simply beautiful.

It's not complicated. It is simply a movie about love. The images are beautiful and the actors are beautiful. The story line is just there to weave from one example of love to another. It (the movie) caresses many facets and types of love.

I stopped trying to understand what anything meant about 5 minute into the movie. I just went along for the ride. I found the movie touching - a good reminder of what life is all about.

I highly recommend it. It's a great way to pass a few hours in the presence of beautiful emotions and images.
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3/10
Technically great overall pretty putrid
tonydazzle16 May 2012
I must take issue with previous reviewers here. I am a generous soul but I set high standards for my movies. I must say this was not good. Indulgent, yes, good, no! Very disappointed with a movie that promised much. A superb cast, acted really well but an uncoordinated narrative that looked as if it had been decided upon afterwards in the editing or cutting room. The supposedly intertwining stories had no relevance at all to each other despite the efforts of the director with his puerile attempt to bring them together. Indulgent and pretentious. With very little merit. Beautifully filmed visually and good sound quality but other than that a total waste of his time and more importantly, ours!
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10/10
Transcendent, sublime and disturbing
Pedro MSF18 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Café de Flore is one impeccably crafted and shockingly overwhelming movie. I think it's pretty much like The Tree Of Life, but probably easier to see and understand, although equally cosmic and delicate.

We'll probably never know if Valée wanted us to believe Jacqueline's story is all in Carole's head or if both stories really merge and soulmates are meant to travel through time and space (I would say by the Notre Dame shot that medium told Carole the truth!). The beauty here is all about the connective tissue who intertwins the two multilayered story lines, the power of music, the rawness and intensity of feelings in dreams and learning to let go.

I was on the verge of tears a couple of times... and surely will watch it again pretty soon.
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1/10
Not a Great Film
G. Elliot12 April 2012
For the first third of the film, I kind of enjoyed the part of the story that was set in Paris in the 1960s, and was willing to go along with the modern-day story, even though it wasn't all that convincing. But the modern-day part of the film just kept getting worse as it went along -- unconvincing acting and storyline, and the "spiritual" and "romantic" aspect really came across as the enactment of a middle-aged guy's fantasy of having everything you want, and having everyone love you for essentially being a jerk. I left the theater feeling annoyed and ripped off. It would have been a much better film if the director had stuck with the Paris in the 1960s plot line and developed it better. That part of the film had some real potential, but unfortunately the whole thing didn't add up to a good movie.
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c f
ismail isi20 January 2014
The first story is set in present-day Montreal and centers on a recently divorced father of two girls, Antoine Godin (Kevin Parent), who leads a successful life as a professional DJ. Despite having found true happiness in his relationship with his girlfriend Rose (Evelyne Brochu), he feels a little remorseful for having left his ex-wife Carole (Hélène Florent), for whom he still cares deeply. Antoine understands that she continues struggling to move on with her life, heartbroken. And to make the situation in which they find themselves even more difficult, their eldest daughter persistently plays their nostalgic love song with hopes of reuniting her parents.

The second story is set in Paris in 1969 and focuses on Jacqueline (Vanessa Paradis), a self-sufficient, loving single mother who becomes the embodiment of perseverance and selflessness as she promises to devote herself both physically and spiritually to her son Laurent, who has been diagnosed with Down syndrome. She spends every minute of spare time with her beloved young boy with the goal to elongate his limited life expectancy. One day, when Laurent begins to be infatuated by Véronique, a new girl in his class-- who, incidentally, also has Down syndrome-- Jacqueline is struck by an overwhelming feeling as she fears that her inseparable bond with the only person she loves will be be lost with time.

Up until the very end of the film, it seems like the only link between both stories is the music the characters listen to (the jazz album "Café de flore" appears in the second story while a certain remix is featured in the first one), but as we progress further into this mystical mystery, we learn that there is something much deeper tying together the characters and their stories of love and loss.

Knowing that "Café de flore" would be composed of intertwined stories, I was initially a little reluctant to seeing it and very worried that its structure would collapse within the first few minutes of the film. To my pleasant surprise, this modern approach to storytelling proved to be ultimately rewarding. I believe credit is due to the film editor, who is-- believe it or not-- Jean-Marc Vallée, again. It's nice to hear that he had control of almost every visual aspect of his own work of art. With Vallée's perfectly orchestrated editing, the audience is able to follow the story without ever sensing an abrupt switch between story lines. In the film's entirety, not once did I feel that some scenes were fragmented or disjointed from others. Vallée always progresses deeper into his creation by carefully and seamlessly shifting between narratives just at the right time, creating a smooth, fluid tempo. Briefly, everything flows like a river.
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love me, love me not....there's always an excuse
rightwingisevil28 April 2012
now the screenplay, the screenplay writer and the director has provided us with another brand new excuse when you suddenly fall for another man or woman, become an adulterer, abandon what you've already built, a marriage, your faithful wife, your vows, your kids....and blame, self-righteous claim that is karma, an unavoidable fatal attraction to a new person who suddenly appeared in your normal life. a very complicated trans-continental karma like Tibetan's searching for their living Buddah heir. your past life determines your up-to-date life, you have to realize, to cash in, to embrace it. there's no excuse, no escape, no whatsoever you've done, did and doing in your present life.

well, this movie will teach you how to have an affair outside your existing marriage and relationship, and how to tell the persons you're gonna ruin that you have to do the unfaithfulness to compensate or redeem, or release the debt, the haunted karma that you have to repay to those who you owed so much in your past life.

every adultery always got an excuse. 'sorry, i don't love you any more.' is just too lame and too common. you've got to find some new excuses to justify your deeds that might be against all the social or moral standards.

after viewed this movie, i am so assured that the screenplay writer might have been trying to hint that he, too, also faced such crisis and dilemma. he wished his wife would be like that wife so badly hurt by his unfaithfulness and would find peace by her own and wished she could let go and move on.

this is a very good movie, but unfortunately, i just can't accept such coward excuse in our real life. asking a 'medium' to give you a 'why' answer is simply absurd. suppose the fate and karma got a twist, it turned out that the woman you fell for was an ugly, older woman, you'd still have to fall for her since it's an inescapable karma that you have to redeem it? karma never promised that your new love would be a handsome man or a younger pretty woman, the spirit might randomly choose any age, any outlook....and what if it turned out to be in the same gender? then, you have to change your sexual preference? give me a break!
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6/10
an OK film, not great, for me the mystic reading spoiled a good story
vdmsss12 April 2012
I am afraid I do not agree with the acclaim this film has received on IDMB. It's just an OK film, which towards the end takes a mystic turn which spoils it entirely for me. Other reviews have mentioned "if you can suspend your disbelief," well I suppose that in the context of this film, I can't. Of course, one could try to refuse the mystic reading, and that would work up to the end credits. In greater detail, I found the contemporary (Canadian) part of the story excellent, believable, interesting, true, engaging and very well told. On the contrary, I found the sixties (Parisienne) part of the story dull and boring, and difficult to believe. All in all, certainly a dignified effort from the director and screenwriters, but a film that I would only recommend half-heartedly.
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2/10
Hum...
kardaragon27 September 2011
An empty shell, beautifully filmed and great music with a story that want's to be great but is unfortunately kind of empty, the casting of the main characters as a younger version of themselves is so weak, that eventually only through strong dialogue did I get that the actors were playing younger versions of the leads... Bad casting... However the leads are great, namely Helene Florent, Vanessa Paradis and Kevin Parent... The story sucks... Beautiful shots but empty of meanings... A great idea, badly executed! And yet I was SO looking forward to it, as I loved Crazy by the same director. This isn't Dr.Zhivago or the English patient at all... I don't know what it is, and I can't believe the good press it's getting! It's even quite a bit pretentious....
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8/10
a must see movie
dita valentin23 March 2012
this is amazingly beautiful movie. The plot, cinematography, editing are so amazing.

This movie is also successfully influence me about the message; connection between past and present life. well, it depends on everyone's belief but through this movie it made me think again about life. And wondering what my past life looked like with the way i am right now. Very great idea of story.

what i like about the story the most is, it wasn't predictable. so this movie made me just sit, silence, and watch until the end.

Seriously, this is a must see movie!!!! This won't waste your time
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3/10
summary its a story about extramarital affair and the excuse of having it through some sort of reincarnation.
jdel02513 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
pretentious indie movie ;

The film consist of stories. One, set in present-day Montreal, Antoine; a successful club DJ is quite happy with his life ; he has a loving girlfriend(Rose) and 2 children , these children are his with his wife (Carole) of several years;they recently divorced; wife had still some hope that he will come back; some bitterness regarding the divorce but she cant fully hate her because Rose is quite nice. Antoine met the Rose in one of his gig and saw her again in AA meeting and they fell in love. The other story is set in 1960s Paris, Jacqueline a single mother of a child with Down syndrome Laurent. the husband left ( implied) because he cant accept the child. Jacqueline was quite devoted to Laurent and Laurent to her mom. but things changed when Vero came into the picture and Laurent and Vero ( fell in love with each other and don't want to be separated from each other (geez they were 7 y/o). Jacqueline then become so possessive. Laurent, and Véro are killed in a car accident (seemingly on purpose (?), by the driver Jacqueline).

Carole keep dreaming about a certain boy (Laurent) in his dream after taking all these medications and a weed before she goes to sleep. she then went to a psychic to clarify her dreams who told her the tragic story of Jacqueline, Vero and Laurent. She was Jacqueline in previous life and Antoine and Rose were Laurent and Vero reincarnated. Because she prevented the love of Vero and Laurent in previous life; she will not a hindrance now and give her blessings to the marriage of Antoine and Rose and they were all happy.

What a premise of a movie.
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8/10
Love Stroy at its Best!
Saad Khan31 July 2012
Café de Flore- Catch It (A-) Café de Floreis a beautiful French movie about LOVE. Its rarely you see a movie about Love & Soul Mates these days so Cafe De Flore is completely refreshing in bringing the purity of love. Café de Flore is a love story about people separated by time and place but connected in profound and mysterious ways. Atmospheric, fantastical, tragic and hopeful, the film chronicles the parallel fates of Jacqueline, a young mother with a disabled son in 1960s Paris, and Antoine, a recently divorced, successful DJ in present day Montreal. What binds the two stories together is love - euphoric, obsessive, tragic, youthful, timeless love.

Even though the movie runs in Non-Chronological manner still you would appreciate how it amalgamates two stories beautifully. I'm not huge fan of non-chronological movie because it makes you depressive like Burning Man, We Need to Talk about Kevin & Memento off course.

Vanessa Paradis gave a brilliant performance, she lived in that moment and her chemistry with the syndrome child is superb. You completely forget that it's not even real. Kevin Parent is mesmerizing and exudes passion. Can't believe that's his first outing as an actor. Evelyne Broche is beautiful & her chemistry with Kevin Parent is amazing. Helene Florent is great along with syndrome kids Marin Gerrier & Alice Dubois.

On the whole, Cafe De Flore is a beautiful heartening movie, which will bring you in tears.
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1/10
Oh dear
losriley-121 May 2012
Such a bad film.Pretentious,disjointed, unbelievable, saccharine, self indulgent.Tiresome.This is the second worst film I have ever seen. The worst half of the audience walked out. I had such high hopes for this film and they were smashed after the first 5 minutes. Every character was sickly sweet and their every action perfect and staged. The best actors were the young children with Downs Syndrome. Woeful. Please avoid this film. It is easy to wish to avoid slating this film due to their being characters with disability. I myself am disabled and also have worked as a psychiatric nurse with patients who had Downs syndrome. This is why I had hoped that the film would be uplifting and honest. There is a great Korean film that deals with the lives of the disabled in called Oasis.
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6/10
Ambitious but without purpose
paul2001sw-16 September 2014
'Cafe de Flore' is a an unusual film. It's deceptively ambitious, but unfortunately its ambitions extend only to being ambitious as an end in itself, a movie whose complexity is unmatched by actually having anything to say. It begins as a montage of heartwarming scenes and images, telling us one story of success and happiness, another of pluck and courage, and whose overall message appears to be nothing more than that love is lovely for the beautiful people. But just when you might otherwise be starting to pull out the sick-bags, the film gets darker, although the treatment of the characters' lives remains somewhat superficial: while the aftermath of a break-up between two of the leading protagonists is at the centre of one of the plots, its details are (seemingly deliberately) denied us. What gives the film its structure, however, is the link between the two stories, which at first is also denied us, but is eventually revealed: one of the characters is dreaming (or remembering, from a past existence), the life of an another. The film never quite abandons its realistic underpinnings, but ends up in no-man's land: the link is insufficiently explicit to make this a ghost story, but as a mere suggestion, it's a remarkably flimsy basis to hold the story together. Director Jean-Marc Vallee successfully adds some tension as the brings the two stories to climax in partnership, as if they were really the same story; but from a little distance, it's very unclear what this concordance is supposed to imply or signify. A final clue hidden in the credits provides a 'Shining'-esque conclusion (but one equally unenlightening as the end of that movie)
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6/10
like Paris more
SnoopyStyle14 November 2016
This film switches back and forth between two stories. One is 1960's Paris. Jacqueline is a hard-working protective single mother to Laurent who has Down syndrome. Laurent develops a relationship with fellow Down syndrome classmate Véro. The two kids become inseparable no matter how infuriating it is for Jacqueline. In the other story, it is modern day Montreal. Antoine is recently divorced from Carole with two girls. He is a successful concert DJ and he falls for beautiful Rose. There is a surprising connection between the two stories.

The 60's story is compelling. I love the kids. The mother son relationship is exceptional. The modern day story is not as compelling. The trial and personal tribulation of Antoine don't hold any interest for me. The back and forth between the stories disrupts the flow. The final reveal is profound, confusing, infuriating, ambitious, and in the end not all together successful. I may like this one better if it played out chronologically.
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A Spiritual Experience For Some. A Self-Indulgent Flick For Others.
CinemaClown9 August 2013
Intercutting two story lines which at first seem totally unrelated, Café de Flore is an odyssey of love that is told through two intertwined timelines. The first is set in modern day Montreal where a club DJ finds himself torn between his girlfriend & his ex-wife. The other segment is set in 1960s Paris and follows a woman & his son who suffers from Down syndrome.

Written, directed & edited by Jean-Marc Vallée (best known for Dallas Buyers Club), Café de Flore isn't an easy film to decipher for the plot unfolds in a very complex manner, employs numerous flashbacks, flash-forwards & cross-cutting moments throughout its runtime while the fragmented narration, thematic elements & symbolisms only make it less accessible.

From a technical standpoint, there isn't much wrong with this movie. Cinematography uses its camera amazingly well in addition to its effective use of colour tones & lighting. Editing is a troubled aspect though for it breaks the story into different segments, rearranging them to give a multi-layered structure which may not work out for everyone while the cast chips in with fair performances.

However, my favourite aspect of the film is its expert use of music for the chosen songs are seamlessly infused into the plot & make the sitting through a worthwhile affair. On an overall scale, Café de Flore isn't a film for everyone, can be easily dismissed as pretentious cinema, and is a multi-layered experience that's ultimately marred by its convoluted premise, glacial pace & metaphysical complexities. A rich, rewarding & spiritual film for some, a highly self-indulgent flick for others.
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