The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
144 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
10/10
It makes my heart ache just to think about it...
thedavidovitch19 September 2003
Some things are so wonderful you can't quite believe they exist. A technicolour heaven with a young Catherine Deneuve at her most beguiling and beautiful in a film that's entirely sung in the most exquisite way? Pinch me, I still can't get over the fact this film exists.

Everyone has a film they return to when they're feeling jaded, sick of Hollywood or simply because it's raining outside. I have two films I turn to at these times. One is Singin' in the Rain; the other is this little gem. Both transport me to a world of colour, joy and heartache, yet both stay just the right side of sentimental too.

Of course the plot is a little convoluted; of course the entirely sung script makes it a little jarring at first - but just sit back and let Les Parapluies do its magic. You won't regret it. I promise ;-)
120 out of 131 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.
bbrow078 June 2004
Warning: Spoilers
A glorious film

just a few things to add to what everyone else has said

[NB SPOILERS towards the bottom of the page - not that the plot is exactly a suspense]

  • It's a "realistic" story on the face of it. The whole thing is reminiscent of the "verismo" Italian operas from the end of the 19th century, like Cavalleria Rusticana, where soap-opera plots about ordinary people are set to emotionally stunning over-the-top drama-queen music - inherently a democratic kind of style, saying that shopworkers and little old ladies have as much right to passion and glory as kings or gangsters or movie stars.


  • Yes, the singing is silly. But the film knows this - in the very first scene the men in the washroom joke about "Carmen" (another example of the same style) and one of them sings something like "I'm going to see a film, I don't like Opera, I can't stand all the singing". Its a film that *knows* mechanics don't (usually) sing arias while they check the oil, and makes a joke about it. Buffy fans will have got the same point from "Once more with feeling" - the Fundamental Problem of the Musical is: "why is everybody singing?"


  • But there is something unrealistic about it, the beauty. Everyone and everything is good-looking. The people are beautiful. The dirty old town is beautiful. Cheap bars are beautiful. Squalid damp flats are beautiful. Abandoned hulk ships are beautiful. A garage forecourt with petrol pumps and a canopy is beautiful. All the men are good-looking. And as for the women - someone asked why more men than women like this weepy film. The obvious answer is Catherine Deneuve. But Anne Vernon playing her mother is cuter than anyone her age has a right to be. And as for Ellen Farner... Guy has not one but two stupendously attractive women after him, which is about 1.99 more than the average member of the audience.


  • The costumes match the background far too often for it to be anything but deliberate. At first its even more confusing than the singing. Madame Emery dresses differently to match the wallpaper of the shop and her flat, sometimes her clothes even seem to change colour for no reason other than to match the scenery. Genevieve stands in front of a window while a truck that's exactly the same shade as her cardigan pulls up behind her. When she tries on her maternity dress it has the same combination of royal blue background and pink flowers as the wallpaper behind her. When she walks past the docks with Roland they are both wearing different shades of off-white - hers matches the rusting paint on the old ships, his matches the cliffs visible in the distance. When Guy and Madeleine sit next to each other outside the cafe her orange-brown clothes and even her lipstick match the door behind her while his dark brown jacket matches not only the wood behind him but also her hair - exactly the same trick we've seen when he was sitting next to the prostitute Jenny with her red dress on front of the red screen inside the other bar. We are in fantasy land here, even if it looks a little like Cherbourg.


  • but this is all the same as the singing. To ask "how does a poor family afford such clothes?" or "why is the delivery van exactly that shade of yellow?" is to miss the point as much as to ask "why does a shopkeeper sing to his customers?" or "why does it always rain when we say goodbye?". In this movie, in this fantasy land, the world is turned upside down, the meek can inherit the earth (or at least look as if they might), small-town Cherbourg is as romantic as Paris, sailors and truck-drivers sing while they work, the poor wear clothes that money can't buy, the scenery changes colour to match your wardrobe, every man looks like a leading man, and every shop-girl truly is as beautiful as any duchess.


  • This is "Singing in the Rain" set in the backroom of a shop instead of the back lot of a Hollywood studio, this is "West Side Story" without the violence, this is a small-town "Moulin Rouge", this is "Brief Encounter" on acid.


  • It's not a tragic ending, any more than the endings of Casablanca or Brief Encounter are tragic. It's the right ending. We're not so much sad for Genevieve - even though we are crying - as we are happy for Roland (who deserves a break. Even though we know he's probably a crook) If we are crying its because Guy needs to hug Francoise. We expect that the marriages will work out in the end - maybe they have worked out already. If these people are not going to be happy its not because they married the wrong partners.


  • and what other film has had hundreds of thousands of viewers in floods of tears watching an aerial shot of an Esso service station?
70 out of 76 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Pure romance with a beautiful score
fairyeyes1622 October 2003
I saw this movie in 1964 when I was 11 years old. It was my introduction to heartbreaking love and this movie probably influenced my love life or how I imagined love was supposed to be. My mother had to lead me from the theatre when it was over because I was blinded with tears. Many years passed until I was able to order the film in VHS and watch it again (about 3 years ago). I still love it. The vivid colors, Genevieve and Guy's beauty and youth, and the beautiful score by Michele LeGrande combine to transport you to a magical place. I loved the fact that every word was sung, but it was not like opera at all. After a few minutes it was as if every word is always sung and talking doesn't exist. Catherine Deneuve was so beautiful! I love this movie and highly recommend it.
44 out of 47 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
"I Will Wait for You"
DeeNine-214 January 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Maybe not.

Les Parapluies de Cherbourg is one of the most beautiful movies ever made with an enchanting and haunting score by Michel Le Grande, and totally focused, sharp and creative direction by Jacques Demy. Catherine Deneuve gives a fine performance in pinkish white makeup with her blonde hair pulled away from her famous face, at twenty playing a seventeen-year-old shopkeeper's daughter who falls in love with a garage mechanic. He is called away to the war in Algeria after making her pregnant. Will she wait for him as the award-winning song proclaims? Will their love endure the long separation?

All the dialogue is sung. The script is terse with nothing extraneous to the bittersweet story. Because the dialogue is stripped to the barest essentials, the singing seems natural and enhances the dream-like quality established early with the rain falling on the umbrellas and the cobblestone streets of the seacoast town. The sets are splashed in vivid color. Everything is superficially romantic, but the events are the starkest realism.

When a young girl if forced to choose between love and security, which does she choose? It depends on the circumstances, and sometimes circumstances and the passage of time can change her heart.

I was a teenager in France when this was made in the sixties. The backdrops of the white Esso gas station, the red and yellow passenger train cars, the bouffant hair styles on the girls, their eyes heavily made up with mascara and black eyeliner, the ubiquitous bicycles and the little French "cigarette roller" cars all brought back vivid memories of youth as did the musical score.

A question: what ever happened to the "other" girl, Ellen Farner who played Madeleine? To be honest I found her more attractive than Deneuve who of course went on to become a great star and an acclaimed international beauty.

Farner was never heard from again.

Some scenes made more effective by their simplicity: When Genevière (Deneuve) returns home after a late evening with Guy, her mother (Anne Vernon) surveys her daughter and exclaims, "What have you done?" Genevière retorts sharply, "Mama!" and it is clear what she has done. Also, as Guy is going off to the army Madeleine arrives upon the scene as he is saying good-bye to his stepmother who is ill. They exchange glances that reveal Madeleine's love for him. And then she sings out softly in the heartfelt regret of parting, "Adieu, Guy." We know these are not the last words that will pass between them. Additionally, the brief, beautifully structured, final scene at the shiny new Esso gas station is not to be forgotten.

The scenes with Roland Cassard (Marc Michel), the suave, traveling man of means who sells Madame Emery's jewelry so she can pay the taxes on her umbrella shop, are nicely staged so that we can see at a glance that he is enormously taken with Genevière and that the mother will do everything possible to further his case. It is agreeable for those identifying with Genevière that Roland is not only well off financially, but is as handsome as the garage mechanic. But will he still want her when he learns that she is pregnant with another man's child?

Jacques Demy who also wrote the script is to be commended for the effortless pace and tight focus of this romantic tale of star crossed lovers. I wish every director had such an ability to cut the extraneous and concentrate on the essentials without intrusion. The tale is an atmospheric tour de force of love lost and gained, of bourgeois values triumphant.

This might be a bit precious for some, but upon seeing this for the third time, I can tell you I was enchanted anew.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)
71 out of 79 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
If cotton candy were a movie...
Rathko14 June 2006
A very French, very idiosyncratic musical that while lacking any discernible 'songs' or dance routines manages to be one of the most affecting musicals ever written. Remy says he was inspired by American musicals, and yet a more non-American could hardly be imagined. Can we really pretend that an American studio in 1963 would endorse the story of pre-marital sex and the romance of marrying a 17-year old girl pregnant with another man's child and not feel the need to moralize or condemn? Only in France, and thank God for it. All the cast are brilliant - charming and charismatic; the production design looks like a psychedelic gingerbread house; the score is exceptional; the singing genuinely heart-felt and moving; and the whole thing is carried off with such effortless confidence and unreserved joy that it's impossible not to fall in love with it.
37 out of 40 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Most unfortunate if you can't bear singing in movies.
jakkiih9 June 2006
1. Coloring, that is absolutely matchless 2. Even the first notes of the main theme make you cry 3. Unique way of singing in a musical 4. One of the most touching love stories 5. Beautiful Catherine Deneuve 6. It's not American 7. Made in the sixties 8. You can watch it over and over again 9. Since you've once seen it.. you must watch it over and over again 10. Esso-scene

Ten more or less good reasons why this just might be the one.. the favorite movie of mine. I partly understand people who hate it, the singing is the main reason i think. But the unique way of singing! Not in the traditional way this is a musical, people just happen to sing when they talk. And the music (especially main theme) is so hauntingly beautiful it really does make you want to cry when you hear the first notes.

The coloring is like in no other film. The clothing and background have been matched in every single scene of the movie. That's real cinema, that's beautiful! And if that's beautiful already, then what comes when the 20-year old Catherine Deneuve is in the lead role! Just WOW!

Once again I don't bother explaining any of the plot, because there's no point really...but one of the saddest scenes in movie history, is the Esso-scene in this one. Watch it! if you're not too busy watching the latest Van-Damme.
63 out of 75 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Just simply the most beautiful romantic film ever made
preppy-310 September 2005
In 1957 France a 17 year old shop girl (Catherine Deneuve) is in love with a gas station worker (Nino Castelnuovo). Her mother is totally against the romance. He's called off to serve in the war for two years. They must part but have sex before he leaves. Then she discovers she's pregnant...

Sounds terrible but it isn't. All the dialogue is sung and the film is done in just breathtaking color--all the sets are decorated to take advantage of this. The colors just leap out at you and some of the scenes are unbelievably beautiful. The musical score is haunting and Deneuve (who became known by this film) and Castelnuovo make a very attractive, sympathetic couple.

The film is just gorgeous--I can't stress enough how beautiful it is and the music (especially the title theme) is so moving. It all leads up to a finale that has me crying every single time I see it. It IS a happy ending (sort of) but the emotions of the two characters really tear you apart.

The acting is good, the film moves quickly (90 minutes) and--quite simply--this is one of the best foreign films ever made. It's not for everybody but if you're a romantic (like me) you'll love it. But be warned--have PLENTY of tissue handy for the end. I've seen it four times and I STILL cry at the end! A definite must see. A 10+.
60 out of 73 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Beautifully sad; a must-see! (SPOILER)
eustfam12 September 2004
I heard so much about this film but missed seeing it in 1964 during its first release simply because it was never shown here. I finally got to see it 40 years after its debut and it remains as fresh and enchanting as I imagined it to be. The film is quite heartbreaking because Genevieve (Catherine Deneuve) did not persevere in her love for Guy. I can only imagine what pain Guy had to bear facing war in Algeria knowing his fiancée back home was pregnant with his child and he couldn't do anything about it. The blaze of colors in the movie was a contrast to the somber atmosphere of infidelity and lost love. I suppose they both had fairly good marriages but we can gleam that they did not reach the pinnacle of joy and had to settle for second best in the end. It sort of reminded me of Elia Kazan's "Splendor in the Grass"--Warren Beatty's character and Natalie Wood's character--they did not "live happily ever after"--they just settled for second best.

It is very clear that Genevieve continued to carry the memory of her lost love--otherwise she would not have made the detour to Cherbourg and meet Guy "accidentally"...It was such a heartbreaking scene--they meet each other after many many years and they have named their children with the same name--the name they planned to give their first-born as they made their future plans together before he leaves for his army stint. I wonder, would it still be as beautiful if it ended happily? In any case, it is one of the most unforgettable films I have ever seen. Try to get hold of the DVD copy for your collection. :-)
38 out of 46 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
9/10
desperateliving27 January 2005
The first of the three segments is perhaps the sunniest film ever made. It's a totally original film (at least from what I've seen); so original, in fact, that at first it's kind of off-putting -- the artificiality of the bubble gum colors (in the first segment, as they change slightly as each moves into the next), the constantly moving camera, and the fact that all of the lines are sung makes it hard to get situated within the film, for the same reason that you turn the car radio down when you're driving down a street trying to read house numbers. ("I can't follow the plot, they keep singing...") And yet Demy isn't satisfied with just being sunny (and his brightness is never garish); each segment has a specific feel, the grandest being the last, with an ending that's just right. (Though it should be said that Demy never once sacrifices the pleasure he creates, nor does he fall into any stale conventions, even while his story is based on the oldest of movie clichés -- wait for me!).

I hesitate to use the word melodrama, but that's essentially what the film is, both for the meaning of the word "melo" (music) and for the heightened emotions brought on my the music. It feels like we've got our head in the clouds, not least of all because the acting is aided by, well, the singing. The music, which is nearly always splendid (and never song-and-dancey), compliments the actors. At first the acting is very plain; or at least, it seems that way. I think that's due to the unconventional approach. Deneuve's loveliness as a young woman keeps us from responding to much aside from her beauty (and she starts off as a typical love-struck sixteen year-old), but by the end she's quite a different person, and to overuse a term applied to Deneuve, she becomes elegant. (I kept looking at her handsome costar thinking Alain Delon would have been perfect in the role; then I learned his most noteworthy film aside from this one was the Delon-starring Visconti film, "Rocco and His Brothers.) Surely some people would probably vomit at a film of such shameless exhibitionism and style, but I was left astonished, thinking, How in the hell did they pull it off? 9/10
55 out of 69 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An offbeat but beautifully stylised and colourful piece of cinema
Jasper-189 August 1999
This must be amongst the most distinctive, idiosyncratic and exquisite films I have seen in a long while. There is nothing particularly new about the plot, which is a straightforward and uncomplicated love story divided into three acts, but the beauty of this film is in the telling of it.

All the dialogue in this film is sung, which at first is a little unsettling, but it actually takes very little time to adjust to. The verse/chorus format of popular music and the musical genre is eschewed for an approach more resembling a modern opera, as the characters croon their lines to each other over a continuous score. This gives the most banal of lines a rhythm and cadence of their own. Because of this I found the French a lot easier to understand than with more naturalistic films, which was fairly handy for me as the print I was watching was with Dutch subtitles! I must confess, I did find that the music (written by Michel Legrand) began to grate towards the end of the 87 minute running time but even so there is still much to admire here. Visually it's stunning, with a bold and vibrant colour palette of almost hallucinogenic intensity and sumptuous costume and set design (that wallpaper!). The opening credit sequence sets the mood perfectly: a birds eye view of the inhabitants of Cherbourg in the rain beneath their umbrellas as they walk across the frame is reduced to a colourful abstraction. Catherine Deneuve is predictably gorgeous and the first act of the young couples courtship is one of the most beautifully pure pieces of cinema I can think of. It reminded me a bit of 'Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris', a film which I saw in television a long time ago and would do absolutely anything to get hold of a copy. 'Les Parapluies de Cherbourg' is a wonderful, sincere and uplifting film that everyone should go and see at least once, and preferably on a big screen. Once seen, never forgotten.
43 out of 53 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Bold Series of Uninterrupted Recitatives Constitute Demy's Brightly Colored But Sad Love Story
EUyeshima12 December 2005
In 1964, filmmaker Jacques Demy made an audacious move by directing a deceptively simple love story completely in song. I would be hard pressed to call this movie a musical, opera or even an operetta since there are neither show-stopping production numbers nor soul-bearing arias on the soundtrack. Instead, we are presented everyday dialogue in a series of recitatives that bring a dramatic urgency to the most mundane of events. Why it works is that the story is not the happy-go-lucky romance one would suspect it will be from the bright colors of the production but rather a melancholy tale of love unfulfilled and the tenuousness of longing in the face of harsh realities. It is a Gallic version of "Romeo and Juliet" by way of William Inge's tale of teenage lust, "Splendor in the Grass" (in fact, Demy's ending bears a striking resemblance to the last scenes of Elia Kazan's film three years earlier).

The plot focuses on teen-aged star-crossed lovers Genevieve and Guy, who develop a relationship through clandestine meetings despite the disapproval of Genevieve's mother, who thinks a gas station mechanic is beneath her daughter. The lovers eventually consummate their relationship once Guy finds he has been drafted to serve for France during the Algerian conflict. With Guy away, Genevieve discovers she is pregnant and must decide whether to wait for Guy's uncertain return or marry the rich diamond dealer, Roland Cassard, her mother's preference given the failing business of her umbrella shop. The story develops in subtle strokes almost like a Yasujiro Ozu film in that there aren't really any melodramatic confrontation scenes but instead moments of revelation. The wondrous Catherine Deneuve, all of twenty, had her first important role as Genevieve, and it's no wonder her career seems assured from her ethereal performance. With his earthy good looks and open-hearted manner, Nino Castelnuovo complements Deneuve as Guy, and their romance is palpable even in an amusingly contrived shot where they are obviously on a conveyor belt moving down the street. Anne Vernon lends a robust presence as Genevieve's mother as she plots her daughter's fate, and Marc Michel is appropriately bland as Roland.

Along with the vibrant colors faithfully recaptured in a 1996 restoration, such artifices really add to the film's charm. However, just as essential is Michel Legrand's score with his swooning romanticism at its most cinematic (and a precursor to the music he composed for Barbra Streisand's 1983 "Yentl"), as it fills the dramatic arcs from start to finish. You will likely recognize the lounge standard melodies for the Americanized translations, "I Will Wait for You" and "Watch What Happens", as they are pervasive through the recitatives. I enjoyed the movie very much but realize this will not be everyone's cup of tea, especially those already alienated by the musical genre. One can see this as an even more exaggerated form, but you can probably tell by the first two minutes whether you will be enraptured by it. The DVD also includes an excerpt from Demy's widow Agnes Varda's illuminating 1995 documentary, "The World of Jacques Demy".
23 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
What about Nino Castelnuovo?
sufidervish26 December 2000
I have read through many - but not all -- of the comments on this movie, and I am shocked -- just shocked -- not to find any praise for Nino Castelnuovo who plays the mechanic-draftee Guy. Everyone seems to be captivated with Catherine Deneuve -- which fascination is understandable, I admit. But lack of attention to the centrality of Guy's role -- loved, betrayed, redeemed -- and blindness to the acting and handsomeness of Nino, are totally, totally unforgivable! IMHO.
13 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Bittersweet brilliance
barnie123423 January 2007
Pure cinematic joy - and that's just on a 32" TV. I would love to see this on the big screen.

Let yourself be transported by the beautiful images and music. This film is life-affirming and moving, without ever resorting to over-sentimentality. I keep hearing the main theme tune in my head and welling up inside. A haunting and beautiful experience.

*** Spoilers follow *** Guy's decision to forego an embrace with the daughter he has never seen has to be one of the most moving moments in film. It is this, rather than meeting his ex-love once more that is heart-breaking. At the same time, it indicates that Guy is the one to have truly moved on and probably ended up with the right partner too. The moment his wife and son return outside the garage is equally moving. The end is therefore uplifting and brutally crushing at the same time. Bittersweet brilliance.
12 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Magical with 3 great scenes
swennator3 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The first time I rented this movie, I fell asleep. I was not ready for singing gas station attendance in an absurd world of extreme colors. The one thing I picked up from that partial viewing was that this movie was unique.

Years later I gave Umbrellas a second chance...knowing what I was in store for. Once I got past that 'god this is silly' feeling, the movie started to grow on me. The movie kind of meanders with trite situations, almost setting the story up for three peak moments: ***SPOILERS*** The first masterpiece scene is of course "I Will Wait For You". The song is beautiful, and by this time in the movie you're perfectly willing to accept the fact that the couple can 'glide' down the street...they don't need to walk, they're in love.

The second great scene is the closing of Act One at the Train Station. I love the fact that it's short and without the overkill Shakespearian dialog. "My Love" and "I love you"...simple and painful.

The ending of this movie may very well be the best ending to a movie ever. Part of it's brilliance is that it just comes out from nowhere...December 1963 is the only warning. It looks like another random scene at the gas station, then a car rolls up and that familiar music begins to play (it's like the music to Jaws...you just know something is about to happen.) The tension is as thick as any war or action movie...I mean just the guy asking what type of gas she wanted was stressful. It's perfect, probably because it seems so real (and they're still singing that crazy dialog.) This movie is not for all taste. But if you can get into it, it's magic. I've seen the movie now over 10+ times...it's sickening how it grows on you.
12 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Changing The Wallpaper
dragon-9012 February 2005
Absolutely wonderful French musical featuring twenty-year old Catherine Denevue singing every word of dialogue along with a cast of well-known (at the time) French actors. The production is opera as only the French knew how to do it. The tale is from old Europe -- love, betrayal, remorse but cast against the last years of France's Algerian crisis. The music, well it starts to sound like side 2 of a Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 record after awhile, nevertheless it does catch your attention and makes you focus on the story. A truly unique movie-going experience, "Umbrellas" is sure to entertain from its giddy start to its surprisingly poignant end. Find it!
22 out of 31 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Unusual, romantic and realistic (Spoilers)
leena_maaretta10 January 2006
"The umbrellas of Cheurborg" is an very unusual musical. They're is no dancing or talking. I enjoyed the singing and melody.I think it's interesting that they never stop singing, because it probably is fairly difficult and needs a lot of talent. And that's what they indeed have! The singing becomes so natural, that you even stop thinking about it! I was surprised to hear someone talk after the movie. Also, the colors are extremely bright. Especially the pink wallpapers in the heroines house and her green dress she wears in the beginning. It's also interesting how it starts with the hero, then switches to the heroine, and ends with the hero. Catherine Deneuve has a charming charisma, and is a real treasure. She and Nino Castelnuovo have a nice chemistry, which makes the film successful in the romantic elements. The heroine's mother is a typical way of portraying parents in films, but Anne Vernon pulls it of so well that it didn't bother me at all. All characters are believable and even the end is realistic. I won't tell you how it ends, but believe me, it ain't no stupid Hollywood ending! Everyone I know have dedated whether the endings sad or not- personally I don't think so. I have to also say, the translation is perfect! I have come across a few fairly awful ones, so it was a pleasant surprise to see that they had really tried with this one. The directer, Jacques Demy, impressed me with his brilliant, superb, moving writings and directions. He has created one of the most beautiful love stories. And I just don't like any romance stories, so believe me, this one works perfectly! It's also one of the most spectacular musicals. It a movie everyone should see, from youngsters to adults.
9 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
A bittersweet and sad film operetta without spoken dialog well made by Jacques Demy
ma-cortes11 August 2019
A young woman called Genevieve, Catherine Deneuve, is the teenaged daughter of a widow, Anne Vernon, who owns an umbrella shop at the little town of Cherbourg, France . Then Genevieve is separared from her fiance' , Nino Castelnuovo, by Algeria war and during a long time she faces off dificulties and loneliness in her new situation. When her former lover goes back they are several surprises . But when they meet once again will their love be rekindled?. A film for all the young lovers of the wide , wide world...A Valentine for All the Young Lovers of the World , in Song and Color .

Pretty good musical movie considered to be a classic French movie , set in Cherbourg where the famous Umbrella Shop still exists at 13 Rue Da Port . Wonderfully evocative musical score and glamorous cinematography enhance the story . It is well set for 1957 to 1963 in Cherbourg, actual town that Jacques Demy took over for shooting . The exciting tale deals with a bittersweet and downbeat romance in which a beautiful girl falls really in love for her equally young boyfriend but both of whom are separated by his military duty in Algeria. It is divided in three parts : Depart, Absence and Le Retour. The picture is very well starred by Catherine Deneuve as the abandoned young woman who is expecting, Nino Castelnuovo as her garage mechanic lover , Marc Michel as the wealthy Roland and Ann Vernon as unfortunate but stubborn widow. This candy-colored fantasy drama to be watched in French language with subtitles, though is also available dubbed in English, but being inappropriate, no having the same effectiveness . It is followed by a similar film : "The young girls of Rochefort" by Jacques Demy with Catherine Deneuve, her real life sister Francois Dorleac , who a bit later on she died by car crash , George Chakiris, and Gene Kelly. It contains a colorfully brilliant cinematography by cameraman Jean Rabier, the gorgeous photography influenced really on subsequent French films , along with a marvellous soundtrack by Michael Legrand.

The motion picture was original and competently directed by Jacques Demy. It won Gold Palm in Cannes Festival and Oscar nominated to best foreign film. Demy was a good French director who made all kinds of genres and getting successes in Musical ones . His first big hit was Lola . Shooting nice films as The seven deadly sins , Bay of Angels , Peau D'Ana, Una chambre en ville, A slightly pregnant man, Lady Oscar, The pied piper, Donkey skin, Parking and "The young girls of Rochefort" that is Demy's followup to Umbrellas of Cherbourg , it is equally an atractive and charming musical in similar style . And a TV series : Louisiana. Rating 7/10. Better than average. Well worth seeing.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Truly a masterpiece
mortenkjeldgaard28 July 2010
I saw this movie many years ago, when I was still a boy. It must have been shortly after its release, when I was 11-12 years old. I went with my best friend; the film was recommended to us by my friends mother. She talked about how the dialogue was all singing. We thought that sounded weird, but we went anyway. I remember that I was truly moved by this movie. I remember that I thought the singing dialogue was weird at first, but after a very short while, it appeared natural, and I didn't think about it anymore. I remember, that I was truly in love with the lovely Catherine Deneuve. I remember, that her choices and her fate was not wrong. It was only sad. I remember how the wonderful tune of the main character touched my heart and stayed with me ever since.

I only saw the movie again a few days ago. So many films from the 50's and 60's loose their magic when you see them again after many years. Not so with Les Parapluies de Cherbourg! The dialogue is not quaint like so often felt. Perhaps, the singing dialogue keeps it forever young. The words ring true and fresh like ever. The dilemma of love and life is present as a real and forever relevant question. The acting is subtle and discrete, underplayed almost, free of theatrical overacting and dramatization. The music is amazing.

Les Parapluis de Cherbourg is a truly timeless, moving and worthwhile masterpiece. A true gem. Watch this movie with someone you love.
8 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
magical
mbdub12 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
What can I say, this is one of the most magical and beautiful films I've ever seen. It does sound a bit silly at the beginning, with all that singing in the garage, but then it just takes over you entirely. A word of warning though: don't watch it with your girlfriend. Because, sorry, but it is not about her, it is about the past. About things that were happening once, that were so great while they lasted, but that did not last long. That you want to forget, and yet don't want to forget. If you were ever young and full of love, and then the world collapsed, and yet you now feel masochistic enough to actually want to re-live every single moment of it, then this film is for you.

What amazes me most is that this film is actually so incredibly simple. Despite all the singing, there is no high poetry, dying of love, pompous gestures, and all that stuff. But that's precisely what gets you, what makes it so true and so how it actually happens. You just come, and she is gone, and then nothing makes sense any more. End of the world is actually amazingly simple, the world just ends.

And about what happened to the Guy next. One might say that he moved on too soon. But I can tell you that the most unbearable thing at this stage is _not_ having someone next to you. When it used to fill all your life and now there is just void, it is simply beyond what you can comprehend or live with.

And the finale! Wow. And again, there are hardly a few words there, "How are you" - "fine". Yet that's exactly how it happens. You want to say so much, you want to bring it back all over again. And yet you don't want it, you know that it won't do anybody any good, and it won't really happen. You cannot walk into the same river twice. The river is not the same, and you are not the same.

And I haven't even mentioned the music. Which is absolutely magical. And again (did I mention it), it is so simple, yet it completely blows you away. It pours with rain, with snow, with sunshine. It promises, it worries, it straggles, it swipes with all the rain and sadness, it brings the past back. Every time you hear those accords, it just brings the tears to your eyes.

It is so sad and yet so beautiful.
7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Perhaps the greatest French film ever made
Stevo-324 November 1998
Although I am a fan of French cinema, I feel this movie can be enjoyed by everyone. The story of two lovers separated by unfortunate circumstances has been told so many times that by now it has to be sung. The beautiful music, the lovely singing, the bright colors and the gorgeous young couple betray the harshness of life in Cherbourg. Ultimately, the wonderful gloss of the movie can not hide the pain experienced by everyone involved when the realistic "wrong" path is chosen by Deneuve.
7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
I can't believed how much I loved this film
MartinHafer2 March 2005
I still can't believe that I LOVED a film in which EVERY line of dialog was sung by the actors! When I first heard about this, I was VERY hesitant to watch, but decided to give it a shot. After all, I really like French films.

The story concerns the love between a young girl and her slightly older boyfriend who is called up for military service. Can their love survive the many obstacles in its way? --Other than that, I'd rather not reveal the plot or the twists, as I'd hate to spoil it for the reader.

Suffice to say, this is an absolutely beautiful film throughout--especially the incredible cinematography. So beautiful and engaging that I found myself in tears as the movie concluded--and the ending is one of my favorites in film history. This says a lot, as I don't usually find myself so affected by movies. Have some Kleenex handy!
11 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
The majority of comments seem to miss the real meaning of the ending.
sharper3d-124 January 2005
Many people seem to think that both Guy and Genvieve are aware that they have settled for second best.I don't think that was Demey's real intent. Guy is handsome, but not motivated to work hard enough to please a girl who sees herself as fit for a crown. The buffont hair, mink coat,& finery. Roland's trophy wife ala 1964 at 22! Madeline, on the other hand is every man's wet dream. Beautiful to the same extant as Genvieve, just "STILL WATER RUNS DEEP" sexier, and does she love their life together.? and does he? You bet they do!!The ending is the very greatest affirmation of sensual marriage and healthy family value ever committed to film! It is a secular moral revelation! It is a moral lesson like "A Place in the Sun", which taught that you shouldn't have ongoing sex with someone you know is unsuitable for marriage. I saw that at about 10...my father wanted me to start learning some practical morality!
34 out of 60 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Excellent musical
Andy-29621 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
A wonderful musical film from Jacques Demy. Set in a fantasy Cherbourg (a French seaside town famous for its rainy weather) during the late 50s and going on for several years, it consists in three acts. First act: Genevieve (a very young Catherine Deneuve) is a teenager living with her mother, with whom she works in a shop that sells umbrellas. She fells in love with Guy (a car mechanic, played by Nino Castelnuovo), who is only a little older than she is. Her mother opposes the romance, as she sees Genevieve as too young and Guy as too poor. Guy is drafted to the Algerian war for two years, but not before leaving Genevieve pregnant. Act two: Genevieve's mother not only has now an unwed pregnant daughter, but the financial situation of her shop is dire. Fortunately for her, a diamond dealer in love with Genevieve agrees to pay her debts. He wants to marry Genevieve (despite being pregnant with other man), and eventually Genevieve will agree. Third Act: Guy returns from the war with a limp in one of his legs. He goes to Genevieve's shop, but sees that mother and daughter have gone. He becomes bitter, is soon fired from his job. His beloved aunt dies, and after that, he marries her caretaker, Madeleine. With his aunt's legacy, he is able to buy a gas station. He and Madeleine have a boy. Final Scene: Christmas Eve. Genevieve, now married and with a daughter, arrives with her car to Guy's gas station. Surprised to see each other, they decide to go inside the station to talk, but they both soon realize that their relationship belongs to the past. She goes away, and soon Madeleine and their boy arrive, and they celebrate Christmas by throwing each other snow balls. End of movie. All this is done through sung lines (rather than songs proper). It's an extremely entertaining and amazingly fluid movie, despite not having the traditional happiness of musical movies. Demy tried to repeat the magic a few years later with Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (also with Deneuve), but he couldn't; that's a much weaker movie. Only quibble with Cherbourg: Isn't the constant product placement for Esso a bit too much?
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
A dazzling but slightly flawed jewel
paperbackboy7 December 2001
This film is powerfully rooted in a particular time and place (1950s France - specifically Cherbourg, during the Algerian War). At the same time, however, the director addresses universal themes of love, absence, opportunity and regret.

The glimpses of Cherbourg are tantalizing, and somehow achingly beautiful for anyone who has ever spent any time there, and the color palette is simply stunning.

Catherine Deneuve looks stunning too (she never looked quite like this again - even in the second half of the film she has already changed). The simple plot is carried along, at least in the first half, by the convincing nature of the relationship between Deneuve's character and her mechanic boyfriend.

The film is slightly spoiled, however, by the rather disjointed plot in the second half, and the lack of variation in some of the sung dialogue (in fact there are no spoken words in the entire movie). However, it is worth watching for the look alone. The best music comes in the scene at the railway station, which somehow manages to feel emotionally authentic despite being so stylized.

So watch the movie if you can. There is no other like it.
14 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Timeless musical romance
harry-7625 May 2000
It was a rare privilege to be present at a film house screening of the restored print of this timeless musical romance. Seldom do I find myself actually holding my breath at such beauty, but that's what happened. The restoration was astonishing, and the years slipped away and the audience was there in 1964.

The accolades awarded this remarkable achievement have been duly expressed. I can only concur and sing this film's praises, too. It is a one-of-a-kind work, with all elements of the production uniting into a masterpiece.

Legrand's score weaves its through-composed themes utilizing leitmotifs, recurring patterns, Faure-like harmonic designs, and structural forms into a hypnotic flow. His recitatives are perfectly blended into the rich texture, and move naturally and beautifully, recalling such ingenious French opera realizations as Bizet. Yet, Legrand's main songs are likewise woven into the score, like arias--haunting in their simplicity and sweetness. The singers on the soundtrack are excellent, and the choice of actors to match the vocal work is done to perfection.

Nowhere in the annals of cinema can one find a work like this lovely creation. Thanks to the painstaking task of restoration, all can once again thrill to the original French version of "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."
7 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed