It took a little while for me to understand the charm of Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes. Twenty minutes in, I was completely enchanted. A ninety minute film, made up of eleven vignettes, Coffee and Cigarettes is an amusing and charming film that shows a variety of actors, actresses, artists and musicians meeting and having a variety of conversations. Every conversation revolves around cigarettes and coffee in some way. Every conversation is wonderfully awkward. Some scenes are stronger than others but, combined, each vignette creates a thoroughly enjoyable film. The best thing about Coffee and Cigarettes is the simplicity. There is an effortlessness that makes Coffee and Cigarettes that much more admirable. Many may argue that there is very little substance to be found in Jarmusch’s black and white gem. To those people I would say you are either looking too hard, or not hard enough.
There are three scenes that stood out as my personal favourites. One involves Iggy Pop and Tom Waits awkwardly discussing music. Another involves Cate Blanchett playing two characters; two cousins awkwardly catching up with one another – their lifestyles blatantly different and unfamiliar. The third is the most comical of all. The only scene to not involve coffee, “Cousins?” shows the uncomfortable, yet hilarious, conversations between actors Alfred Molino and Steve Coogan. As both actors indulge in tea and shortbread, rather than the coffee that features in all other segments, there is some incredibly subtle humour that makes this the best section of the film. Some scenes are much longer than others which keeps the rhythm of the film exciting. All in all there is much to be admired about Coffee and Cigarettes. Just like Jarmusch’s Broken Flowers, the simplistic nature of Coffee and Cigarettes makes it enjoyable; its success routed in the performances and characters portrayed.
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