Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Nino Castelnuovo, Anne Vernon
Director: Jacques Demy
Running Time: 91 mins
The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg is a French film about the life of a young woman, in a deep relationship with a young man from the locality, but stuck living with her mother. After her boyfriend is conscripted, she finds herself in a dilemma that will change the course of his and her lives.
Right, first things first, if you’ve not heard of this film, I have to tell you that it suffers from Les Misérables syndrome. No, it’s not that it’s set in France, but it is that every single line in this entire movie is sung in pretty much the same melody the whole way through…
At the beginning of the film, there was a nice jazzy feel to everything. The songs were upbeat, often changed around, and really suited the mood of the film, so I was starting to enjoy myself as the film got going.
However, much like Les Misérables, once you realise that they’re not going to stop singing, the novelty really wares off quickly. Luckily, this film is only an hour and a half long, so you don’t have to sit through too much pain, but the fact that every single thing they say is sung, in effectively the same three songs throughout, really is tedious.
Anyway, away from that, the characters were relatively strong, however only at the beginning. It was interesting to see this young woman’s story, struggling to be with the man she loved because of her mother’s wishes, and when he leaves, her heartbreak does actually cause you to feel some sadness too.
Then, everything seems to get a little bit repetitive and not at all as deep. When the ultimate dilemma arrives in the story, it should be the opportunity to look right into the main character, however it just doesn’t work out, making for a surprisingly unemotional watch during the most emotional of times.
Overall, this gets a 6.8, because of the ultimately irritating singing, even though it was nice at the start, and the poor durability of the characterisation in the latter stages.