The film lets us know the tone from the very start, as the credits are played over a parade of umbrellas bobbing up and down the street through the rain. The passing umbrellas are an array of pastels, grays and fever-brights, but the shot ends with a line of black umbrellas cutting in a horizontal line across the screen. Catherine Deneuve (Genevieve) plays a shoekeepers daughter who fallis in love with a young garage mechanic (Guy), soon to be called away to war in Algeria after making her pregnant. Superficially romantic by way of musical, but the events that take place are based on clear-cut realism.
The plot is a classic and straightforward tale of love and fate. A suave, traveling man of means (Roland) who sells, Genevieve’s mother jewelry so she can pay the taxes on for her umbrella shop is nicely staged so that we can see at a glance that he is extremely taken by, Genevieve, and that the mother will do everything possible to bring the two together, based on her disapproval of Guy which is more than obvious. Its apparent that Genevieve is just as attracted to Roland as she is to Guy, but her sudden pregnancy by Guy and his calling to war raises the question of whether or not, Roland will still want her when he discovers her pregnancy from another man. In the end she ends up with, Roland and is forced to resign to the man that she may or may not have loved all along.
This is by far the best musical ive ever seen. There are so many symbolic nuances that paint the back drop that convey the true message of the film and how it realtes to relationships within various societies. Unlike most musicals, the film doesn’t end with a simplistic sappy ending; instead it leaves us with poignant images that cause us to recall our own roads taken and not taken. The reminder of past love, though long stolen away by time and buried deep behind layers of new found love and happiness, comes as shockingly and painful when Guy and Genevieve accidentally reunite later in life when she stops to get gas at the filling station. The incredibly pained, shy exchange between them, and his quick shake of the head, declining to see his daughter, reveals the fingerprints of their romance. A love gained and a love lost. The story of life I guess.