The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg) Reviews

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April 29, 2019
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is more an opera than a musical (every line is sung rather than characters suddenly breaking into song). It takes a little while to get used to the format, but once you've settled in, it would be hard to imagine this movie any other way. I'm unable to judge the quality of the poetry as I don't speak French, but some of the music was memorable. The bright colors contrast with the bittersweet story, and the final scene made the investment in the story worthwhile.
½ April 29, 2019
Fascinatingly different take on the movie musical. While some may find it a "tearjerker" - others, like myself, will find it sad/melancholy. Well worth a watch - and see it on the big screen if you ever get a chance. Fine, fine cinema
½ April 11, 2019
I'm not a big musical guy, as I find most American musicals equivalent to cheese whiz with a few good ones that rise to the top. Jacques Demy's French Music is as beautiful as it is tragic. It's one that I continue to think about periodically from time to time.
September 20, 2018
This one is an example of the magic of cinema. A moving and unforgettable picture which owes much of its charm, of course, to its fantastic, rich, magic soundtrack. But it's also an immortal story of doomed love, which breaks hearts since the conception of art. The leading actors are superb; in fact, everything is superb in this masterpiece, including the jaw-dropping color cinematography that is as visually rich as the movie's soundtrack.
September 4, 2018
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is like a bowl of rainbow sherbet. It's bright, it's colorful and it's almost impossible to dislike. However, this movie isn't all sugary sweet-there's an unexpected tartness to it that makes it stand out among romantic musicals. Ice cream similes aside, this film is simply impressive. From the costumes to the set design to the music, it's a memorable work of art.
May 6, 2018
We've been telling the same stories since the beginning of films, the most important thing is to tell them differently. We could say that Hitchcock told us the same story over and over again, but the storytelling used in each one of the pictures he made was different from one to another. The most remarkable thing about this movie is that Demy was able tell us such a banal story in a very charming and gripping way. We cannot deny this picture is formidable French entertainment inspired by Old Hollywood musicals. Highly recommended!
Super Reviewer
½ April 15, 2018
The editing is great and the art direction is gorgeous with its strong saturated colors, but for me this is an awfully frustrating film and the music very much like fingernails on a blackboard, absolutely insufferable as everything is sung through like a horrible arioso piece.
½ February 11, 2018
One of the most interesting French films. I guess it was just unusual to have it as a musical. It was an enjoyable film. 1001 movies to see before you die.
½ February 6, 2018
The umbrella's of Cherbourg is truly exquisite to the eyes but a solid two third of it is horrendously grating to the ears, especially if you speak french; what they say is tepid and bland to the extreme, the musical arrangements are always excellent but the melodies, when they do the mundanity parts are just urghh... Yet i recognize it is an important movie but, what a pain in the ass it was for me (and the full 3rd act doesnt really work, so that is a quite a downer in itself). So boring and tedious, but a classic, i guess?
½ January 26, 2018
A dazzling and gorgeous romance with breathtaking color and music
October 23, 2017
I wanted so desperately to love The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, particularly because I had such a fondness for The Young Girls of Rochefort from the same writer/director. Sadly, this movie did not work for me. The story is kind of depressing, and it is not all that original. The young lovers who must decide if their love can stand the test of time and distance, is a really old story structure (and frankly not one of my favorites.) I simply wasn?t enjoying the way things unfolded, and I knew what it was all leading to long before the ending arrived. The one chance this movie had to elevate itself above its story is the fact that it was a musical, which I should love. Unfortunately, I cannot fathom why this was musical. There weren?t memorable or distinctive melodies. The dialogue wasn?t lyrical to my ear at all. As far as that goes, I?m willing to accept that something might have been lost in translation since they?re singing in French, but it felt so clunky. It almost came across like Jacques Demy just wrote a script intending it to be spoken, and then told the actors to make up a tune so they could sing their lines, and then figured out some orchestration to go with it later. Nothing clicked to make this feel like a musical, and after awhile I stopped even thinking of it that way and simply read the subtitles in my head as if they were spoken. I wouldn?t say that The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is a bad or unappealing film, but it was completely ineffective for me. But I must admit, Demy has an eye for gorgeous visuals, so if nothing else at least I was able to enjoy the fact that this is a beautiful movie to look at.
August 23, 2017
parintii si cami l-au vazut, este celebru, si am trecut prin oras
Super Reviewer
August 7, 2017
I question the necessity of having every single line of dialogue sung but Demy's brightly colored melodrama is still vibrant and achingly sad.
Super Reviewer
June 16, 2017
Considering La La Land is one of my all-time favorite films, surely I have to see the film that inspired it, right? The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is a beautiful and melodramatic take on a French romance in musical form.

Just as it was the case with La La Land, I have a feeling this film will get better on repeated viewings. With every word sung, and in a different language, sometimes it's difficult to follow what is being said and what the emotional intentions are of each word. Watching romances in another language is always a fascinating experiment. On one hand, you could say that the language doesn't ultimately matter because what is meant is often shown through facial expressions. But at the same time, not being familiar with the native language can make it difficult to understand the exact tone of each spoken word. After all, how do we really know how well the actors can act if you aren't familiar to their language?

With all that said, there's no escaping the beauty to The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Jacques Demy crafted this story in such a unique way, through imagery and framing devices. Catherine Deneuve and Nino Castelnuovo resemble last year's Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone by being an honest and charismatic couple that you can root for. Just the pure emotion that both of them pour into their characters is admiring. Only, I wish we did get to see a little more of them doing things together, instead of just gush over each other through song after song.

Getting lost in the music, colorful imagery, and dreamy sequences are probably why this film became so popular, and further inspired La La Land. Although nothing really compares to the latter, 'Umbrellas' works on other levels because it's a contained, quiet, and sincere love story told through beautifully arranged musical numbers. This is one for the ages.

8.6/10
½ June 1, 2017
There's not much to add to the various critiques here, audience or critics, most of which are nearly eloquent, except to say that what we find whimsical & almost silly about the French is on full display here - and secretly we love it, male or female. Unabashedly romantic it's not simplistic. Much is made of the Deneuve debut; but in the story it's Madeleine (Ellen Farner) who is every good man's secret hope & desire, in character & beauty. Legrand's very familiar score hardly seems amenable to lyrics. But tho' repetitious at times, it does seem to work.

"La La Land's" Chazelle says this film was a significant influence on him & it's pretty easy to see, including the is-it-a-happy-ending, or not storyline. Yet, "Umbrellas" is purer sugar. There are similarities in production & costume design, too. Speaking of costumes: "Umbrellas" styles seem timeless.

Admittedly not for most Trumplicans, the others who stick with it will be rewarded. Timothy's Review just below seems right-on ...
½ May 10, 2017
By equal turns charming and quietly devastating. A film that for all its reliance on the clichés of the Hollywood musical, surprises with its take on a pair of young lovers who learn that life is a bit more complicated than it all appears at first, and love doesn?t conquer all. While not everyone involved is a great singer, the music more than makes up for it.
April 29, 2017
A beautiful and thoughtful musical that is both a celebration and an indictment of young love and first romance.

What makes this film great isn't just the music, the performances, the sweeping, yet selectively intimate and invasive, cinematography, or really anything to do with technique at all, though there is masterful artistry on display at every turn. It's the lofty goal of throwing an audience into a world where life sings, and making them believe and be enchanted without a moment to catch their breath.

Thank you, Mr. Demy. This one is truly, truly special.
½ February 21, 2017
I can't believe I haven't reviewed this yet, but this is the king of Demy musicals. Sadly there is no dancing, but an incredibly moving story, songs that became American hits (Watch What Happens, I Will Wait For You) despite being sung in French in the film and an ending that still hits me right in the gut. European cinema in the 60's really figured out how to use color and Cherbourg is a prime example of this.
Super Reviewer
½ November 23, 2016
This French La Nouvelle Vague (New Wave) musical was made at Jacques Demy's peak. It is brightly colored and mostly takes place in the '50s. French superstar Catherine Deneuve is Geneviève and the title is the name of the umbrella shop owned by her mother played by Anne Vernon. It is a story of young lovers who are star-crossed because they come from different classes, but a richer man also loves the girl. When she ends up pregnant and her working class lover, Guy (Nino Castelnuovo), gets drafted to fight for a solid two years, will she settle for the other man, Roland (Marc Michel), who can give her and her son a comfortable life? It is divided into four acts as time passes for Geneviève. The music is not the type from Hollywood musicals and it is not adapted from a stage production. There are no musical hooks or refrains repeated, nor big production numbers. There are instrumental themes for certain characters or emotions, but the lyrics are more free-form meaning the characters sing what they would traditionally speak without much rhyming or structured verses. The film is a bit sad and certainly fits the cinematic modernism of the Left Bank New Wave.
November 4, 2016
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Jacques Demy's all-sung musical romance premiered in Paris and made a star of Catherine Deneuve had achieved the perfect synthesis, creating a total musical in which camera movement, décor and song are in unique harmony with one another.
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