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Amélie (Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain) (2001)

  Directed by: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Written by: Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Guillaume Laurant
Starring: André Dussollier, Mathieu Kassovitz, Audrey Tautou
Links: Amélie on the IMDb, Official site, Buy the Soundtrack, Buy on DVD, Buy on Video
Genre: Drama

This movie gets: 9.67 (3 ratings) Ranking: Ranked equal 4th of 187 movies (2 ratings minimum; see full chart)

Amélie (Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain) (2001) is also mentioned in pearly's review of 8 Women (2002), pearly's review of A Very Long Engagement (2004), pearly's review of Birthday Girl (2001), mino's review of Cinema Paradiso (1989), pearly's review of Good Bye Lenin! (2003), mino's review of Spirited Away (2001) and pearly's review of The Triplets of Belleville (2003).

"I'm still smiling" - a review by mino

Every now and again, there's a movie that comes along (and I'm trying very hard not to sound like a git here) that just makes you feel good about yourself, about your life, about the world in general. Amélie is a film just like that. I waited far longer than I should have before I finally got around to seeing Amélie, and I'm rapt that I eventually did so. It was just as good as everyone had said, if not better.

Amélie Poulain (Audrey Tautou) is a very odd young lady: a bit of an outsider, a loner and, frankly, just plain strange. One day, totally by accident, she discovers a box of childhood treasures behind the tiles in her bathroom: she decides to track down the original owner. She resolves that, if he is delighted by the box's return, she will become a sort of 'professional do-gooder'. One of her good-deed recipients, Nino, fascinates Amélie: much like her, he is a rather quirky outsider. Amélie, who has been rather unlucky in many respects of her life, develops a kind of weird obsession with Nino — and neither of them, misfits such as they are, are quite sure what's going to happen next.

There are a lot of words one could use to describe Amélie. 'Quirky', 'whacky', 'feelgood', and (most of all) 'whimsical' are some of them. But it's a lot more than that, too. Amélie is very fast-paced, exciting, amusing and, in parts, tremendously funny; but it does have some much deeper undercurrents and, as well as making you feel good about life, it also makes you ponder some rather more weighty themes, like fate, love, and death.

Without a shadow of a doubt, Amélie is such a great film for, above all, one reason. Sure, there are several things that make it a good film: the writing is great (well, the English translation was, anyway); the cinematography and direction obviously superb, even for someone who knows as little about the topics as I do (the subtle colouring of every scene in a sort of yellowy-green tint is an example; it's about fifty times more effective, and about four hundred times less irritating, than the similar but far more heavy-handed effect in Traffic (2000)). It is also impressively original: it is the rare movie that comes along and uses a totally new 'cinematic device' (ugh), but when you do see such a film (Run Lola Run (1998) is another 'foreign-language' example), it really is like a breath of fresh air: some of the astoundingly imaginative 'cinematic detours' in Amélie are quite unlike anything I've seen before, and leave you sitting there gobsmacked.

More than anything else, though, the movie is made truly great by the absolutely earth-shattering performance of Audrey Tatou as Amélie herself. Tatou is stunning, in more ways than one. Her gorgeous elfin looks are perfectly suited to the character, and she manages to perfectly convey the impish charm of Amélie, who is one of the most instantly lovable characters I've ever seen in a movie — and she has Tatou to thank for bringing her to life. The supporting cast, such as Amélie's misfit coffee-house co-workers, are also great, but it really is Tatou's film. I can't wait to see her in something else; in fact, I think I'm in love.

Anyway: if, like me, you've managed to miss Amélie for an awful long time: see it, see it now. Don't drag it out any longer. It's one of the best films I've seen in yonks, and it deserves to be seen by as many people as possible. It's not like there are many people who couldn't do with a smile or two, and Amélie will have you grinning like an idiot all the way through. Don't let the subtitles put you off: though Amélie is certainly a classic 'arthouse' film, I find it hard to believe that there's anyone, pretentious wanker or yob, who wouldn't enjoy it a great deal.

mino gives this movie 10 out of 10.
Review created on Fri 19 Jul 2002

"I want to be Amélie!" - a review by pearly

I love this film. It sends tingles down my spine, makes me laugh and frown, and warms my heart. It is the story of Amélie (Audrey Tautou), a waitress who lives on her own in Montmartre, France. When she discovers a metal box containing a young boy's treasures, she makes a decision. She will find the owner of the box, and if he is touched, she will spend her life doing good things for people.

From the opening moments of Amélie, you know you're in for something special. It's a beautifully written script, which takes time out to smell the roses. It is touching and funny at the same time. Audrey Tatou is stunningly gorgeous, and is sure to make all the girls envious, and all the guys swoon.

The film is shot in such a way that the colours are not true-to-life - the greens and reds are enhanced - and the look of the film adds to the fantastical nature of the tale. As well as this, the film is interspersed with asides to the story (where characters are introduced, or people's thoughts are made clear) in a similar fashion to the snippets running through Run Lola Run (1998). I loved getting to know the people in Amélie's life this way.

Through Amélie's good deeds, we see her growing as a person. She begins helping out strangers, then moves on to people she holds dear, and finally she helps herself. And, although Amélie lives in what is more than just a bit of a fantasy world, she does have a number of very human traits. For one, she is extremely shy, and for another, quite mischievious (particularly memorable are the tricks she plays on the local grocer, who is very mean to his assistant (in scenes that appear to owe a lot to Roald Dahl's The Twits).

I really can't adequately describe all the wonderful things about this film. I have a huge grin on my face just thinking about Amélie. And I'm pretty sure that once you've seen it, you'll know what I'm talking about.

pearly gives this movie 10 out of 10.
Review created on Fri 19 Jul 2002

Movie review statistics

Ratings given without reviews:

Number of reviews: 2
Number of ratings: 3
Average rating: 9.67
Lowest rating: 9 (by em_fiction)
Highest rating: 10 (by mino, pearly)
Rating Percentage

Reader comments

  1. good movie

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from celia on Sat 27 Dec 2003 05:49 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 10.00 (1 rating)

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