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Cafe de Flore

A romantic drama from the director of C.R.A.Z.Y.

Montreal, in the quarter-century leading up to today: Antoine (Kevin Parent), a club DJ, is "a man who had every reason to be happy and the lucidity to realize it." In the first rapture of passion with his blond girlfriend Rose (Evelyne Brochu), he feels his ecstasy is contagious: "Total strangers would look at me, as if they could read the joy inside." Antoine is divorced from Carole (Hélène Florent), his wife of some 15 years and his sweetheart from their early teens. For all that time, these two had seemed fated to a lifelong love, together forever. Carole is not so much resentful at Antoine's departure as stunned; it is outside the natural order, the betrayal of destiny. "I've never kissed another man," she tells a friend. "I've had one love in my life." How could her twin flame not see her as his twin flame? Paris, 1969: When Jacqueline (Vanessa Paradis) gives birth to a boy with Down syndrome, her husband leaves her. That's fine with her: she can now devote every moment of her life, every ounce of her energy, to loving Laurent (Marin Gerrier), a precious child who adores her as much as she does him. Her love is exalting and exclusive, a room with no view, only two blissful inmates. So when at seven he finds a soulmate in his blond schoolmate Véro (Alice Dubois), also with Down syndrome — and tells his mom, "I love her like I love you" — Jacqueline feels no less betrayed than Carole. She reacts as if her son has committed adultery. She removes Laurent from the school and announces, with the lucidity of obsession, "I will make you forget her." In this astonishing Franco-Canadian romance, writer-director Jean-Marc Vallée intercuts these two stories, on the theme of women who love not wisely but too well, then unites them in a daring leap of faith. The viewer will have to leap with him, but his film is so sure-footed, emotionally and cinematically, that that risky step seems like walking on air in a beautiful dream. Each major character and many of the minor ones — Antoine's father, who'd almost rather have lost his straying son than his beloved daughter-in-law; or Carole and Antoine's elder daughter, so similar in looks to her mother than she also feels deserted — are as fully drawn as friends we have known for ages. Taking its deep resonance from the ardor and anguish on Jacqueline's and Carole's strong faces, and from the undeniable bond of two children, or two adults, who find each other against the odds, the film is generous to all its besotted creatures, and to the audience as well. Viewers who fall in love with Café de Flore will find that it loves them back. Courtesy: Mary Corliss, Time Magazine Official Trailer

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Directed by: 
Jean-Marc Vallée
Running Time: 
French with English Subtitles
Kevin Parent, Vanessa Paradis, Hélène Florent, Evelyne Brochu
Screenplay by: 
Jean-Marc Vallée

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