Bagdad Cafe

1988

Bagdad Cafe (1988)

TOMATOMETER

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

AUDIENCE SCORE


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Movie Info

After breaking down in the middle of the California desert, a German couple begin to argue, and the wife walks. She ends up at a flea-bitten truck stop that is the second home to a group of odd characters, and she begins to transform their lives.

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Critic Reviews for Bagdad Cafe

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (2)

Unfortunately, the film's curious conceits remain implausible even on a fantasy level, and most of the satirical possibilities are either sidestepped or fumbled.

Feb 8, 2010 | Full Review…

Bagdad Café is an uplifting and distinctly humane culture-clash comedy which will thaw the coldest heart.

Oct 30, 2018 | Full Review…

The theme song really is inescapable...strange things happen in a charmingly-plotless way.

Aug 31, 2018 | Full Review…

Just as the main character slowly grows on people in the film, it can draw in reluctant viewers.

May 16, 2013 | Rating: 7/10 | Full Review…

Percy Adlon's first English-speaking film is a charming fable about the friendhsip between two vastly different women.

Jan 13, 2011 | Rating: B | Full Review…

This 20-year-old film reminds us of a time before independent movies became the formulaic fare they often are these days.

Feb 14, 2007 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Bagdad Cafe

½

This enjoyable fable is expertly edited and knows how to use a surreal cinematography to enhance the sense of oddness created by its rather unusual story. But it also doesn't know how to end and simply drifts without any clear direction in the last fifteen minutes.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

beautiful. mesmerising, joyful film-making, of the kind that you wish there was more. reality and dream mix - Percy Adlon knows the right doses. a happiness pill for easy riders and cool viewers. in my opinion, excellent. 5/5

Anastasia  Bartzoulianou
Anastasia Bartzoulianou

Super Reviewer

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.

Daniel Parsons
Daniel Parsons

Super Reviewer

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