Bagdad Cafe (1988)
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...
This West German film is set in the California Desert. A husband-and-wife pair of Bavarian tourists become stranded when their car breaks down; after a quarrel, the wife, Marianne Sagebrecht, gathers her luggage and stalks off. She stops at the Bagdad Cafe, a fleapit truckstop run by outspoken C.C.H. Pounder, who is also having husband problems. The Cafe has become a magnet for some of truly odd character: temperamental Hispanic cook George Aguilar, tattoo artist Christine Kaufmann, and onetime Hollywood set designer Jack Palance. Despite obvious personality differences, Sagebrecht and Pounder become friends. Bagdad Cafe was later adapted into a short-lived American sitcom starring Jean Stapleton and Whoopi Goldberg. … More
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Critic Reviews for Bagdad Cafe
Unfortunately, the film's curious conceits remain implausible even on a fantasy level, and most of the satirical possibilities are either sidestepped or fumbled.
Just as the main character slowly grows on people in the film, it can draw in reluctant viewers.
Percy Adlon's first English-speaking film is a charming fable about the friendhsip between two vastly different women.
This 20-year-old film reminds us of a time before independent movies became the formulaic fare they often are these days.
Audience Reviews for Bagdad Cafe
An enjoyable fable, expertly edited and making smart use of a surreal cinematography to enhance the sense of oddness created by the rather unusual story. But it also does not know how to end, and it simply drifts without any direction in the last fifteen minutes.More
Starts out like low budget community theater but that's probably part of its charm. Bagdad Cafe has substance and heart that reveals itself in a slow-burn of oddball characters and intelligent scripting.More
Bizarre, eccentric, and for the most part quite wonderful film. Jasmin, a tourist from Bavaria, Germany, walks away from her husband in the middle of the Mojave Desert and eventually stumbles upon a rundown roadside cafe/motel/gas station, managed by the stressed out and overworked Brenda (CCH Pounder, The Shield). The two characters clash as they try to make sense of each other; Brenda is suspicious of Jasmin as she arrived without a car and with a suitcase full of men's clothes and magic tricks. Jasmin, meanwhile, fills her time by befriending Brenda's children and setting to work at cleaning the motel, much to Brenda's irritation. Gradually (this is a slow paced film), the two form an understanding and a friendship, and the cafe is soon attracting lots of visitors due to word-of-mouth. The film is graced with very unusual but strong performances from the two leads, and from some stunning photography and off-kilter editing. A frankly surreal music number near the end is toe-curlingly embarrassing and almost ruins what has gone before, but the film just about rights itself in its final scenes. The film was successful enough to warrant a spin-off television series starring Whoopi Goldberg, which ran for two seasons.More
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