Monsieur Ibrahim et les fleurs du Coran

Rated 4.0 The vibrant working-class neighborhoods of 1960s Paris feel like a costar in this infectious homage to surrogate father-son bonding. Omar Sharif gives an eloquent, moving performance as the eccentric, philosophizing Muslim grocer Ibrahim, who watches over his cramped shop and customers more like an elderly sage than like a businessman. He befriends the young Jewish boy Momo (Pierre Boulanger) after catching him stealing and takes the lad under his wing when Momo is suddenly abandoned by his depressed father. The pair’s relationship blossoms as Ibrahim teaches his maturing companion the power of a smile and as Momo consummates his first encounters with sex and romance. The film is somewhat trivialized by its male fantasy of streets lined with gorgeous hookers with hearts of gold, but it’s memorably soulful. The excellent soundtrack includes such American hits as “The Madison,” “Wooly Bully” and “Sunny.”