This is one of those movies where multiple characters weave and interconnect through multiple stories which all reach their dramatic conclusions in a burst of activity at the end of the film. Unfortunately whatever charms this movie has in its first half evaporate in the second, when the director tries to inject a false sense of dramatic weight by having almost every storyline devolve into meanness and tragedy. In the final quarter the movie piles on more and more contrived events and inexplicable reactions from the characters, glossing over the more glaring ones by stuffing them into a where-are-they-now montage at the very end. And even the first half relies a bit much on caricatures, such as the German couple who spend an inordinate amount of time discussing how much they loathe everything German while simultaneously reveling in the wealth Germany's economic might has bestowed on them. If you're really in the mood for this sort of thing go watch Robert Altman's "Short Cuts" instead.