This is a work of genius. The writing (and I say this as a professional writer) is remarkable, taking what seems to be a very complex double story, weaving it in what seem to be incomprehgensible ways, yet bringing disparate things together in a stunning finale. The cinematography involves tight sequences, sometimes mere flashes from scene to scene, making things seem jumbled until the stories mesh. Most reviewers ignore one crucial thing: the reincarnation theme, whether to be taken at face value or as a way of seeing how one story parallels the other. The direction is very assured, keeping us guessing yet fully informed. And the director extracts remakrkable performances from the Downs syndrome boy who acts the part of Venssa Paradis's son with a very sure hand. It is a classic that will grow in reputation as time passes. Many newspaper and magazine reviewers disliked it. It's clear they simply didn't get it.
I first saw this stunning film when it was shown on BBC4. Initially I wasn't entirely sure what to make of it or how I felt about it. I thought it had some obvious merits such as the fantastic soundtrack and cinematography but was rather baffled by the plot and decided to give it another watch. I'm glad that I did as I think it is a film which improves for the viewer with repeated viewings. The film weaves together many different subjects and themes - the sorrows and joys of both platonic and romantic love, duty, the pursuit of happiness, destiny, jealousy, desire, the pain of separation, social attitudes towards those who are different and metaphysical themes about death and reincarnation. A previous reviewer described it as 'hauntingly beautiful' which is exactly right. The visual imagery is frequently surreal (reminiscent of David Lynch) giving the film a dreamlike and sometimes nightmarish quality. Superbly acted by all concerned, emotionally involving, spiritually uplifting and intellectually provocative, this is an exceptional film which I think will grow in stature and come to be seen as one of the masterpieces of world cinema. Definitely not to be missed.
For me,this was one of those films some will find dull,but others will appreciate as a thinking film. It's a film of two stories separated by about 50 years and yet connecting in various ways,becoming one,this makes sense as the film goes on.
In the 60's,we have a young mother caring alone for her son with down's syndrome,fighting ignorance from other people and battling her own insecurities as her son falls for a girl with down's.
Then we have today's story of a man who has everything,a great job,2 kids,loved partner,happiness,but he also has a past he struggles to let go off. His now separated wife and mother of his kids is bitter about his new life and struggles to accept things as they are. She also has some odd dreams,dreams that make sense to the viewer as the film goes on.
I liked the way this film goes from one story to the other and get closer and closer to each other,as if their about to crash into each other,seperated only by time.
The connections and struggles with acceptance really give this film a lot of powerful emotions and a unique feel,it's a film beautifully crafted and acted,Vanessa Paradis is superb,but so is everyone else and more to the point,so is this gem of a movie.
Centred around the village café people fight and make friends in the times of WW II The pub landlady does all the hard work and shows courage to defend her children from rude schoolmaster's habitual punishments Finally the sell the pub and settle in a lifestyle where the man does all the hard work for a change