Amélie (2001)

Amelie

Genre: Romance, Comedy

Cast: Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz

Synopsis: Amélie is an eccentric waitress in Paris committed to doing acts of kindness in order to improve the lives of the people around her. However, when it comes to improving her own life, things are not quite as easy.

I like to think that I keep an open mind when it comes to watching films. I will watch any film at least once and I will try not to let hype or my opinions of actors/actresses/directors influence my thoughts on the film. However, if there is one genre I have trouble watching it’s romantic comedies. In a lot of romantic comedies I find the necessary elements of romance and comedy startlingly absent. Romance isn’t Katherine Heigl being kissed by a Matthew McConaughey circa 2003-type guy and comedy isn’t Jennifer Lopez saying that it’s “turkey time.” Fortunately, Amélie manages to be both romantic and comedic thanks in large part to its quirky realness.

The funny thing about Amélie is that it is quite a surreal movie but, at the same time, it’s touchingly human and its characters are remarkably accessible. In this movie each character is introduced with a little narrative about their likes and dislikes which range from plunging a hand into a sack of grain to tearing off wallpaper in strips. It’s these small touches that round out the characters, something that’s amazingly accomplished before the audience even sees much of them on screen. Because of this, the film doesn’t feel like a film at all but rather a snapshot of the lives of a group of eccentric Parisians.

At the centre of it all though is Amélie Poulain, a hipster’s wet-dream wonderfully played by Audrey Tautou. Jean-Pierre Jeunet struck gold when Tautou was cast in the role. Bringing an ethereal pixie-like innocence to the film, Tautou helps construct a three dimensional character that the audience can’t help but adore. Beautiful, witty, creative, sensitive and kind, Amélie is the sort of significant other we all hope to meet one day. However, Amélie is also a complex character and throughout the movie we see just how many layers she has, her insecurities, her hopes and even her weaknesses. Although the film is rather light-hearted, Tautou’s performance gives the film a much needed depth…plus she can write backwards super quick which just blew my mind.

One thing about this movie that I loved was how much of a sensual experience it was. The cinematography is beautiful, highlighting and accentuating rich shades of green, red and gold giving the film a vivid visual magic. Thanks to composer Yann Tiersen, the audience’s ears are also treated with a whimsical and surprisingly light soundtrack. Executed brilliantly, the soft fluttering of piano notes complement Amélie’s child-like innocence and perception of the world around her and, through that, the audience gets to relive life’s simple pleasures like hearing the sound of a crème brûlée crack to the utmost effect. The film is truly a sensual marvel and when you’re high it really gives you chills.

High-lights:

  • Sensually arresting.
  • Great characters that give the film a human feel.
  • Great comedy moments: “Fur pie doesn’t sell.”
  • On the subject of Princess Diana, I feel that this quote was wonderfully appropriate: “GIVE I A REST!!!”
  • A beautiful ending that shows that life is full of wonder and beautiful moments.

Downers:

  • Damn those spiced biscuits dipped in mulled wine looked hella tasty. Gave me the munchies really bad.

Summary:

Full of charm and whimsy, Amélie is a film that should not be missed. It’s the sort of movie that should be saved for a time when you’re feeling sad and downtrodden. The film’s magic will captivate and inspire you and make you focus on all the good things life has to offer…like mulled wine and spiced biscuits. Fuck, now I’m super hungry.

10/10

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6 Comments

Filed under Comedy, Mind Blowingly Awesome, Romance

6 responses to “Amélie (2001)

  1. I think you basically nailed exactly on the head why this movie is such a beautiful one. It’s one of my French favorites.

  2. I love this movie. I’m not huge on romantic comedies, but sometimes a quirky one is just the best.

  3. Good review. While the whimsy may have gotten stale after awhile, it’s still a light, happy and heartfelt look at what it’s like to just look on the bright side of things, regardless of how shitty they may actually be.

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