The ending is such a surprise, particularly after such a fragmented story. Right after seeing this film, at the very ending, I realized it was about the miracle of love, and the coincidences of fate.
This is a remarkable story of building self-awareness, of growth and of realization, discovery and in a sense, enlightenment. Amazon gives a decent review of the plot as do others, so .....
I hope this is not a plot spoiler, so I will try to be vague, but the lesson Martin learns from the stripper, who calls herself "Lola," is about two things that resonate with his own background and history with his mother: first, that "even" a stripper/prostitute can love her son, and love him very much; and secondly, that even this love may not be enough for the little boy who needs more help and guidance growing up, and may leave him feeling lost and alone, despite the love that his mother does not always have the time to show him, because making a living to support them both is very hard for her.
The realization at the very ending of the amazing coincidence, and the linking of the stories, is profound, like in the best of literature, whether Dickens or Dostoyevsky, or Pynchon or Rossner..If there is a lesson, it is that the "way out" of our dilemmas is to give love in as big a dose as we possibly can to those who have shown love and kindness to us, and then we are free. In the film the implication is that we are then free from our old hang-ups and misperceptions, and able to see the world, ourselves, and the others in it a little more objectively and compassionately.
I can understand why it got so many bad reviews, it is not an easy film to watch, even for someone who has lived for years in France and California, both, and spent much time in Mexico. The main character was for me not attractive, at least at first, because, he, Martin, was selfish and short-sighted, suffused with a hard shell of self-pitying ennui, and inadvertent self-destructive behavior that affected everyone around him..
The best part of the DVD is the interview with Mathieu Demy, who reveals a wonderful history of how the film was put together.