Café Lumiere

Critics Consensus

A poetic tribute to filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu, Café Lumiere is a serenely fascinating journey through Japan's changing cultural landscape.



Total Count: 21


Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,146
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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 (21) | 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

  • Apr 24, 2016
    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 M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 03, 2011
    Japanese drama, though drama is the wrong word for such a lackadaisical plot. Plot is the wrong word too. Way too subtle for me.
    Lesley N Super Reviewer
  • Oct 03, 2009
    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 Super Reviewer
  • Dec 02, 2008
    Very subtle. Not a lot of story at all. Moves along very slowly, but I liked the day to day life in Tokyo.
    Nicki M Super Reviewer

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