The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg)

1964

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg)

Critics Consensus

Jacques Demy elevates the basic drama of everyday life into a soaring opera full of bittersweet passion and playful charm, featuring a timeless performance from Catherine Deneuve.

98%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 57

87%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,802
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The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg) Photos

Movie Info

Jacques Demy's 1964 masterpiece is a pop-art opera, or, to borrow the director's own description, a film in song. This simple romantic tragedy begins in 1957. Guy Foucher (Nino Castelnuovo), a 20-year-old French auto mechanic, has fallen in love with 17-year-old Geneviève Emery (a luminous Catherine Deneuve), an employee in her widowed mother's chic but financially embattled umbrella shop. On the evening before Guy is to leave for a two-year tour of combat in Algeria, he and Geneviève make love. She becomes pregnant and must choose between waiting for Guy's return or accepting an offer of marriage from a wealthy diamond merchant (Marc Michel, reprising his role from Demy's masterful debut, Lola). A completely sung movie, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is closest in form to a cinematic opera. Composer Michel Legrand composed the score, modeling it around the patterns of everyday conversation. Umbrellas was re-released in 1997.

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Cast

Catherine Deneuve
as Genevieve Emery
Nino Castelnuovo
as Guy Foucher
Marc Michel
as Roland Cassard
Ellen Farner
as Madeleine
Anne Vernon
as Madame Emery
Mireille Perrey
as Aunt Elise
Pierre Caden
as Bernard
Bernard Fradet
as Gas Station Apprentice
Michel Benoist
as Umbrella Shop Customer
Philippe Dumat
as Garage Customer
Harald Wolff
as Monsieur Dubourg
Dorothée Blank
as Girl in Sailors' Cafe
Jane Carat
as Jenny/Genevieve
Bernard Garnier
as Garage Mechanic
Francois Charet
as Garage Mechanic
Jacques Camelinat
as Garage Customer
Roger Perrinoz
as Cafe Proprietor
Paul Pavel
as First Removal Man
Gisele Grandpre
as Madame Germaine
Rosalie Varda
as Francoise Cassard
Francois Foucher
as Herve Legrand
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News & Interviews for The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg)

Critic Reviews for The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg)

All Critics (57) | Top Critics (15)

Audience Reviews for The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg)

  • Apr 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.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 07, 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.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 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
    Thomas D Super Reviewer
  • Aug 12, 2014
    Connected with Demy's debut <i>Lola</i> (1961), not only because taking place in the famous place of Cherbourg that was mentioned a lot, but also because of character references, such as Lola's infancy friend Roland Cassard and Lola herself, <i>The Umbrellas of Cherbourg</i> represents the epitome of Demy's musical delightfulness. We saw it coming since <i>Lola</i>, perhaps subconsciously, but now his musicals do have singing and complement the situations marvelously. I had personally never imagined to see a director officially considered as a part of the Nouvelle Vague movement adapting the Hollywood tradition to the big screens of France with renowned actresses such as Anouk Aimée, Jeanne Moreau and Catherine Deneuve. And what was the Academy Awards reaction to this? Oh, the most predictable in the world, of course: - An Oscar nomination for Best Writing, Story and Screenplay - Written Directly for the Screen (Jacques Demy) - An Oscar nomination for Best Music, Original Song (<i>"I Will Wait for You"</i>) - An Oscar nomination for Best Music, Score - Substantially Original - An Oscar nomination for Best Music, Scoring of Music, Adaptation or Treatment - An Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film Because the Academy will nominate always in terms of thematic conservatism and visual attractiveness. Musicals are also their weakest bias spot... Anyway, <i>The Umbrellas of Cherbourg</i> stands out in a number of ways, but I'll mention the two which I consider the most important. Firstly, it breaks the common Hollywood structure of musicals. The whole story is <b>ENTIRELY</b> sung. Whereas in Hollywood you would see the story develop for then arriving to key moments in which characters would start singing out of the blue to explain scenarios, create uplifting moments or simply complement a situation, here not a single word is spoken if it is not sung. Few will realize the exhausting amount of effort that requires, including screenwriting, effort by the cast, and time calculations of entry and exit, but fortunately the majority will be delighted throughout. Secondly, it is a thought-provoking drama. Musicals portraying a story about hardships, struggles or other serious issues were very rare (which is one of the reasons why <i>West Side Story</i> [1961] is unique). The constant singing could be considered a distractor, or a negatively impactful source of cognitive dissonance, but it is not. Au contraire, despite the sad or tragic moments, the film is elevated to a charming level where you feel you are floating throughout, from beginning to end, and as it is a tradition in Demy's dramatic vision, the story is not ended like Hollywood would. Finally, despite this dangerous stunt, Demy is perfectly capable of emanating the feelings intended in the required moments: heartwarming drama, clichés*, humor, shock, and even tears during the departure scene or the very ending. The whole cast shines thanks to their impeccable effort, and thanks to a glorious use of Eastmancolor, which would definitely look great in Blu-Ray, the whole scenarios interact with the film's magic. Ironically, we were talked about Cherbourg in <i>Lola</i> about a boring place from which people would seek to escape whenever they could, but it is a place full of music, colors, emotions and snow. Haters of the musical genre because of its fantastical unrealism and because people are taking off the story by characters suddenly singing should <b>mandatorily</b> check this reinvention of the genre as a last opportunity, because even the musical genre has boundaries unexplored thanks to the Hollywood/Bollywood cinematic duopoly. It is, indeed, a rarity of an opera. 94/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer

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