Café Lumiere

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Reviews Counted: 20

liked it

Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,149


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.7/5

You may have noticed some of the recent changes we have made. To read more about what we’ve been working on behind the scenes, please check out our new RT Product Blog here.

Want to See

Add Rating
My Rating    

Movie Info

A freelance writer living in Tokyo defies social taboo by choosing life as a single mother in director Hou Hsiao-Hsien's meditative tribute to acclaimed Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu. When Yoko announces that she is pregnant and has no intentions of marrying the father of her child, her traditional family is outraged. Though the headstrong decision made by the young mother-to-be leaves her finding little sympathy from within her family circle, a blossoming friendship with the owner of a local second-hand bookstore goes a long way in alleviating Yoko's feelings of loneliness. As Yoko begins to re-evaluate her increasingly complicated life, her newfound friend silently pines for her despite his frustrating inability to vocalize his true feelings. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi


Critic Reviews for Café Lumiere

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (6)

  • Both Hou and Ozu excel in evoking the poetry of everyday life, and, as a tribute from one great filmmaker to another, Cafe Lumiere should richly satisfy devotees of both artists.

    Jan 19, 2006 | Rating: 3.5/4
  • The film often takes on the hypnotic rhythm of a dream.

    Dec 2, 2005 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

    Ted Fry

    Seattle Times
    Top Critic
  • Hou fans will find what they're looking for; others will wonder when the action starts.

    Jun 10, 2005 | Full Review…

    Jay Weissberg

    Top Critic
  • Although pegged as an author of contemplative mood pieces, Hou's originality as a filmmaker has much to do with both his handling of historical material and his daringly counterintuitive narrative structures.

    May 31, 2005
  • The plot may be almost non-existent, but who cares when a film is both this serenely beautiful and quietly insightful.

    May 31, 2005 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Tom Dawson
    Top Critic
  • A fascinating curiosity, a chance to witness one major filmmaker paying tribute to another in the form of a rigorously minor film.

    May 14, 2005 | Rating: 3/5

Audience Reviews for Café Lumiere

Very subtle. Not a lot of story at all. Moves along very slowly, but I liked the day to day life in Tokyo.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

Hou's moody tribute to Ozu is more revealing and significant from what is left unsaid as it shows a woman in transit (she spends a good part of the film on moving trains) and who never discusses her pregnancy with her traditional parents. Still, it left me a bit too cold to care.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


In "Cafe Lumiere," Yoko(Yo Hitito) spends much of her time between Taiwan where she is researching a famous composer and Tokyo where she hangs out with Hajime(Tadanobu Asano) who sells books and records the sounds of trains. Her carefree life comes to an end when she finds out she is pregnant by her Taiwan boyfriend. And that's pretty much it for any kind of story as director Hou Hsiao-hsien turns Tokyo into one giant model train set. As the trains go in circles, so does the plot. He does this in order to comment on the rootlessness of youth, as none of the characters can stay in any one place for long. And not that it matters any, but this is the second time in a week that I have seen a movie dedicated to Yasujiro Ozu that concentrates on train travel which is odd considering Ozu was the master of the domestic drama.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer


Subtitled 'an Homage to Yasujiro Ozu' and clear to see why. Hou creates beautifully composed shots and quiet reflective scenes which will be very familiar to those who know Ozu's work. The film captures the distinct void between generations without ever having to state it's theme. Instead we get serene scenes of eating, drinking and catching the train. Although bang on with style it lacks the pure emotional punch that Ozu managed so easily to convey. We still however feel many mixed emotions even if they are not as effective. Slow and long takes result in a film not for all, but one for fans of Ozu to see where he may have gone in the 21st century.

Luke Baldock
Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer

Café Lumiere Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features