In modern day Montreal, Antoine (Parent), an internationally-celebrated DJ, is dealing with the fallout of his divorce from childhood sweetheart Carole (Hélène Florent). During the film's first half, there is no evident connection between the two narratives except that seven-year-old Laurent and Antoine share a love of music. Antoine has embarked on a passionate relationship with Rose (Evelyn Brochu) and the couple plan to marry, whilst he contends with his own feelings of guilt at leaving his lifelong partner and the disapproval of his family and two daughters. Carole, however, is secretly convinced that Antoine is her soul mate and will eventually come back to her.
The film's central performances are all terrific. Florent perfectly captures Carole's anguish which is, at times, almost unbearable to watch. Parent impresses as the charismatic, DJ, loved by two women but wrestling with his own demons. Paradis effortlessly conveys a mother’s protective love for her child that verges on the destructive. Elsewhere, Vallée's editing style is fast and furious, a deluge of cross-cuts suggesting parallel lives, frequent flashbacks, and a deliberate blurring between fantasy and reality. Distorted images reflect the characters' inner turmoil and the film's pulsating soundtrack adds an extra layer to the narrative.
Not everyone will engage with Café de Flore's paranormal denouement and the final scenes tie up the loose ends far too neatly for complete comfort. Yet, despite these flaws, it's hard not to admire Vallée's flair and distinctive style of filmmaking.