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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat


Café de Flore
Directed by Jean-Marc Vallee
Kino Lorber 11/12 DVD/VHS Feature Film

It is 2011 and Antoine (Kevin Parent) is celebrating his 40th birthday in Montreal with family and friends. Life is sweet for this handsome man. He loves his well-paying job as a DJ, has two lovely daughters, and has found a soulmate in Rose (Evelyne Brochu), who is sexy, young, and incredibly beautiful. Antoine's only regret is the depression his ex-wife Carole (Helene Florent) is going through as a result of their separation. He is in therapy for his trouble with his relationships.

In 1969 Paris, Jacqueline (Vanessa Paradis) gives birth to a boy with Down syndrome. Her husband walks out on them when he realizes that she wants to keep and raise Laurent (Martin Gerrier) at home rather than have him placed in an institution. Jacqueline is completely focused on her son.

"Wherever you are,
Whatever your condition is,
Always try to be a lover."
— Rumi

Writer and director Jean-Marc Vallee (The Young Victoria) is interested in what happens when true love, whether romantic or motherly, comes under fire and forces individuals to take a fresh look at what matters to them. Antoine is drained by his older daughter's animosity towards Rose whom she calls "a bimbo." To complicate matters even more, the family elder thinks Antoine should get back with Carole who is seeing a psychic specialist in past life experiences.

Antoine's bumpy entry into middle-age is matched by the obstacles Jacqueline must jump over as she tries to control every aspect of her son's life. She is distraught when the seven year old meets and falls in love (his words) with Veronique (Alice Dubois), a Down's syndrome girl at his school. It is both sad and shocking to see the actions Jacqueline takes to remedy the situation.

Jumping back and forth from Antoine's story to Jacqueline's shows us how two very different people react to the forces tearing their lives apart and putting their love relationships in grave danger. Both characters refuse to give up, agreeing we can conclude with Nikki Giovanni who said: "We love because it is the only true adventure."


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Reviews and database copyright 1970 2012
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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