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Amelie de Montmartre is a wonderful French film that I challenge you to watch without a smile on your face. Clever from the off and being very insightful into French idiom and melancholy, it also allows plenty of room for romance, family, the everydayman, the Good Samaritan and a ncie bit of good old fashioned revenge.
Such a busy film would usually seem very complicated, and although there are a few moments of real detail, it generally falls down to a seamless fly on the wall couple of hours of Parisien daily life. Audrey Tautou plays the titular waitress, who sees plenty of people every day and tries to find ways to help them in their problems, however minor or major these may seem. Amelie is a quirky young woman who lives with her father, whose neighbours are eccentric, sad, humourous and diverse. She works with the worldly wise, a hypochondriac and a sexually confident friend, while her regular customers vary from the unsuccessful author to the annoying judgmentalist who records everyone else's failings on a dictaphone.
The film flows beautifully from one scene to the next, Amelie's various good deeds blending in very well with one another. Tautou does a fine job of playing the innocent and almost childlike character, while the supporting really do show a range of regular characters depicting a range of regular events. Such a film is bound to make you smile, with Amelie endeavouring purely to help everyone else out to the point where she initially fails to see that she herself has fallen for someone without really knowing who he is.
The scenery of the film, set in and around Montmartre and Parisien back streets, is coupled beautifully with the gentle sort of music you would expect to find littering every little cafe were you to visit France. Everything is in lovely balance. The fact that the film is in French doesn't really have much of an effect apart from the fact that you have to read the subtitles unless you're fluent in the language. I found this didn't distract from the film at all. i don't know whether there is a translated version of the film, although I can't imagine how it would translate into English and still maintain its magic quite so well. There's something so 'right' about it being in French and having to read the subtitles.
The humour and melancholy balance in the film is very clever as well. intertwined within each sob story are quirky little things that are quite amusing, and some of the events and conversation make you want to smile and even chuckle at times. It really is very clever, and well directed too. The patience from behind the camera is certainly aided by the occasional voice over to help dilute the constant visual scenes, but it all blends very well and the skill levels are apparent.
Overall then, a film well worth watching. I very much like watching foreign language films, and this is one of the best I have seen of late. Well worth a watch, and the sort of film you'd notice more little subtleties each and every time you watch it. Lovely stuff.
This quirky French comedy drama centres around a Parisian waitress, who becomes intent on helping others in her own surreptitious way. This leads her to some disappointing dead ends, diversions and stellar successes. It is a beautifully and ingeniously observed production, with no shortage of gentle humour, delivered in a refreshingly offbeat manner.
After a preamble that innovatively introduces the main characters to us, we are thrust forward to August 1997, and the news that Princess Diana has been killed in a Paris tunnel. As far as the film is concerned this is only pivotal in an indirect way. Amélie's shock on seeing the news causes her to drop a cosmetic bottle lid, which in turn rolls into her bathroom, dislodging a wall tile. On removing the tile she discovers a time-encapsulated tin, containing paraphernalia that would typically belong to a little boy of the fifties.
The mystery gives direction to her hitherto listless life, as she begins a philanthropic mission to reunite the artefacts with their rightful owner. If she can see the pleasure that such a reunion brings, then she vows to help others in a similar way. This selfless pledge is commendable, and although not a particularly new concept in film, the painstaking and ingenious lengths she goes to are. We are also presented with that old chestnut of someone who can help everyone else except themself. Will Amélie herself find happiness, or merely continue to skim stones on the Canal St Martin and wait tables at the Montmartre café where she is employed? That's an Amélie secret for you to find out!
Amélie and her Family
To merely give a bullet-pointed plot outline fails to do justice to this film as it offers so much more in exploring the human condition by encountering a cornucopia of diverse characters, couched in humour and glorious settings. Much of the film's wildly imaginative approach reflects Amélie's own outlook, which is shaped by her difficult upbringing.
As a child she develops her own imaginary world. This is partially due to the fact that she is schooled at home, having no interaction with children of her own age. She is educated in this way as her father, an ex-army doctor, believes her to have a heart defect. Her mother schools her, which is fortunate as she is a teacher by profession. However, we learn that her parents are part of the problem as well. Her father is non-tactile and unemotional, while her mother suffers badly with her nerves. As the narrator explains, "(Amélie) is trapped between a neurotic and an iceberg." This, coupled with the disconnect from her peers, explains the unbridled torrent of wild imagination coursing throughout Amélie's fertile mind. To add to her woes, she then also suffers heartache through the bizarre death of her mother.
As mentioned, most of the film is absorbed by Amélie's big-hearted mission to help the people who need it. In one imaginary newsreel outtake Amélie sees her own obituary, in which she is mourned by the Parisian masses and referred to as the 'Godmother of Outcasts' and the 'Madonna of the Unloved' (maybe a tenuous link to Princess Diana here)? She goes about her good deeds with meticulous aplomb and schoolgirlish mischief. Her pursuit of one challenge often splices into a fresh one, much like the course of an interminable flow chart. We encounter globetrotting gnomes, amended reputations and memories, matchmaking, and a whirlwind audio-described tour for a blind man, to name but a few.
Her early life gives us a foreshadowing of her capacity for cunning and revenge, whereby she unplugs and replaces the aerial connection of the football-viewing resident. She co-ordinates this with the simultaneous commentary on her radio as a goal seems imminent perched atop his roof to send him hopping mad- genius! His crime? He had wrongly accused her of causing a minor car crash by distracting the motorists with her camera. This ingenuity for practical jokes later manifests itself when a particular character irks her to the point of prankish action that Tom and Jerry would be proud of! Believe me, the comeuppance is richly deserved.
It does seem that the French like to revel in melancholia, and Amélie upholds this national trait. Throughout Gallic literature and film we are assailed with a sense of wistful sadness, something perfectly encapsulated by the title of Françoise Sagan's precocious paean to Paris, Bonjour Tristesse. Nevertheless, I do find this to be somehow beguilingly attractive rather than negative. They strike the right distinction between melancholy and misery. However, I do fear that this may be lost on those weaned on American Pie and Police Academy. The characters in this film are contented by life's simple pleasures.
I find this outlook to be more realistic than the broad stokes daubed in Hollywood whereby happiness often equates to six-figure bank balances and high-end promotions.
Hipolite, a failed writer who frequents the café, even admits in an argument that he loves the word 'fail' and that 'failure is human destiny'. I suppose that happiness is far more easily achieved if even misfortune is viewed as a positive, and embraced in this way!
The film opens with the shot of a Parisian street and the narrator's voice, which intones, ''On 3rd September 1973 at 6.28pm a bluebottle capable of 14,670 wingflaps a minute landed on Rue St Vincent, Montmartre." We are then invited to witness the simultaneous event of two wine glasses dancing atop a billowing tablecloth, and an elderly man crossing through the name, in his address book, of a recently departed friend. We also learn that this was the precise moment that M. Poulain's sperm fertilized his wife's egg, heralding the conception of Amélie Poulain. Only in a French film eh!
We are innovatively whisked, with breakneck speed, through stream of consciousness, minimalist observations of characters' likes and dislikes. This makes for a captivating, if somewhat surreal, viewing experience. I was a little worried at first that it would be like this all the way through, which might have tried my patience and scrambled my attention span. For instance we are introduced to Monsieur Poulain as someone who dislikes 'pissing next to someone else, people catching scornful glances at his sandals, clinging wet swimming trunks.' We then learn that he does like peeling off large strips of wallpaper, lining up and polishing his shoes, and emptying, cleaning and re-filling his toolbox. However, these manic micro-biopics are afforded just the right amount of time and space. The minutiae of detail here is noteworthy in that it reflects more widely on a film that misses little opportunity to flesh out characters with such sparse economy and also on Amélie's, almost, fevered imagination.
Other devices such as newsreel footage, trompe l'oeil, video tapes, narrative,
talking photos, ornaments and paintings all contrive to add humour and aid the flow of the story.
The setting fits the film perfectly. The mere names of Parisian, or Montmartre, streets and metro stations add a semantic romanticism unequalled by those in any other city in the world. Consider, for instance, the two random addresses of two main characters: Englien-les-Bains and Places des Batignoles. A tad more romantic than Ealing Broadway or 109th Street methinks!
The visuals are similarly evocative. I found one scene particularly memorable, in which Amélie descends the steps of a metro station only to be diverted by music. Her walk along the platform past an iconic blue metro station sign (_Abbesses_ in this case) seems almost dream-like. The music is issuing forth from an old record player seated on a blind man's lap. Further down the platform she sees a young man furtively rummaging for used photos beneath a booth. This is her first sight of Nino Quincampoix, and highly significant it is too.
More specifically, the café where Amélie works is typically Parisian, with regulars seated singly at small tables variously swilling pastis, kir and Kronenbourg.
In an age of urban redevelopment and the supplantation of old, characterful buildings by asinine glass structures, the Parisian suburbs do seem to have escaped this soul-less overhaul better than most cities environs. The grocer's shop, for instance, is gloriously lopsided pitched into the fork between two undulating cobbled streets. Francophiles, in particular, will love this film for the settings alone. The crowning glory, however, is the view afforded from that legendary Montmartre landmark, Sacre Coeur. The soundtrack considerably embellishes the Parisian ambience too, particularly when sumblimely squeezed from the accordion.
From the end credits I notice that part of the filming took place in Germany, which makes the faithful evocation of Paris all the more remarkable.
Despite the melancholy and wistfulness, humour is never too far away in this film. We have a retired, slightly senile ex-metro conductor who has taken to punching holes in his wife's lilies, quick-fire banter at the grocery stall, as well as the glorious cast of eccentrics who fill the screen. Two of these are Joseph and Georgette. The former is a paranoid regular café customer who continues to hold an unwelcome obsession for his former love Gina, another waitress at Les Deux Moulins. Hypochondriac Georgette works the tobacco counter at the café. Unbeknown to them, Amélie contrives to divert Joseph's attention instead to Georgette and vice-versa. She does this by cupidly dropping spurious claims and clues of each party's affection into the other one's ears. Joseph uneasily plucks up the courage to approach the hapless Georgette with a compliment. He purrs to her,
"You're beautiful when you blush. Like a wild flower".
Unaccustomed to receiving such compliments the similarly gauche Georgette responds,
"It's my dyspepsia."
The outcome of this bizarre attempted matchmake reaches its apogee whereby the earth quite literally moves, in another wonderful scene!
In another café scene we see an old chancer trying his luck with the proprietor, Suzanne. She bemoans the existence of men and, in particular, their snoring. Quick as a flash the old-timer quips,
"I've just had my cavities operated on."
"You're such a romantic", is her laser-like response.
The funniness abounds throughout and, although more subtle than the sledgehammer obviousness of Hollywood humour, it helps to illuminate an already charming film.
Audrey Tatou peerlessly plays the understated eponymous heroine. She readily reminds me of a young, doe-eyed Juliette Binoche. She certainly possesses a sufficient air of that je ne sais quoi that is needed to drive a film such as this. With a distinctively ski-sloped snub nose, her huge, aqueous brown eyes, pooled in porcelain skin, are mesmerising in the way that they both capture her innocence and betray a cartoon-like sense of mischief. Her dress sense often conjures up images of Olive Oil as her slender frame stomps around in dark tights and loafers. However, possibly because she is French, Tatou carries this off with effortless, cool insouciance. Since watching this film, I've noticed that she is the model on the Orient Express in the Chanel No 5 TV advert. That explains it! Does her talent know any bounds?
The other characters are afforded similarly bravura performances by the remaining cast.
This rather oddball assortment comprises the world-weary, cuckolded concierge at Amélie's apartment block, who holds her young tenant ransom by reading aloud her tragic correspondence over a mandatory glass of port. Then there are her work colleagues, at Les Deux Moulins, Suzanne, Gina and the aforementioned Georgette. The former is the browbeaten proprietor, delectably played by Claire Maurier. An ex-circus performer, she injured her leg in a trapeze accident but it is a measure of her professionalism in her current role that 'she walks with a limp, but has never spilled a drink'.
Georgette is a terrific creation as the café's token hypochondriac. Not the only one to wallow in self-pity and paranoia, she does nevertheless take it to another level.
Gina skirts the periphery, although is called upon to play a pivotal role at some point. She also provides a link to Joseph, one of the café's regular customers, in that she was his former lover. The latter cannot accept this and cuts a pathetic, if comedic, figure by conspiratorially recording her every communication with other male customers into his Dictaphone!
Two more central characters are Raymond Dufayel and Nino Quincampoix. The former is a neighbour of Amélie's, who is also known as The Glass Man. He is so called because of a rare skeletal condition, which has rendered his bones as brittle and fragile as glass. Thus restricted, he has not left his apartment block in 20 years and occupies himself by re-painting Renoir's _Luncheon of the Boating Party_ each year. He strikes up an endearing and beneficial friendship with Amélie and the picture assumes an increasing resonance in precipitating her own personal catharsis.
Nino Quicampoix becomes a personal challenge and quarry for Amélie. He is another mad eccentric who collects discarded photographs from beneath photo booths. His working life is just as bizarre, supplementing his main job at the Porn Palace with a Wednesday shift at the local funfair's Ghost Train. The poor chap soon becomes embroiled in Amélie's playful penchant for setting codes, ciphers and other cryptic conundrums!
Two other characters worthy of mention are Collignon, the loud-mouthed grocer and his kindly, but not so bright, assistant Lucien. The scenes at his vegetable stall are, by turns, comedic and uncomfortable.
Amélie is an enduring and heartwarming film that put an irrepressible smile on my face. It does make use of some innovative, if sometimes offbeat, techniques to convey the story but these are more of a bonus than a blight. This fabulous French feel-good film is flawlessly delivered and contains enough twists, turns and teasers to sate the most confident closet Clouseaus out there.
Colour, PAL, Subtitled
Audrey Tatou - Amelie
Matthieu Kassovitz - Nino Quincampoix
Rufus - Raphaël Poulain
Lorella Cravotta - Amandine Poulain
Serge Merlin - Raymond Dufayel
Jamel Debbouze - Lucien
Clotilde Mollet - Gina
Claire Maurier - Suzanne
Isabelle Nanty - Georgette
Dominique Pinon - Joseph
Collignon - Urbain Cancelier
*This review has also been posted on Ciao under the username FLOCKOFSEAGULLS.
I'll say right upfront. Amelie is just a lovely, lovely piece of film making.
Audrey Tautou is bewitching as Amelie, a loveable eccentric waitress...But the glossy, rich presentation put forward by Jean-Pierre Jeunet ensures that even she plays second fiddle to the sheer beauty of the movie.
Every shot is a photo, you just want to sit and drink it in...The colour balances are amazing...Sure, the lighting's great and the film choice, the filters...they're all spot on...but it's much more fundamental than that...Every set, every costume, every prop...it's all rooted in "how will this look on film"...and the answer, of course, is *stunning*.
The plot is simple, lovely and the acting is superb across the board...but it's the art of the film that makes Amelie stand out as a true modern classic. In other reviews I've criticised films for being too arty, for taking themselves too seriously and so on...but the way J-PJ delivers Amelie is breathtaking - it's playful and enjoyable to watch.
Plenty of the reviews below will give you a plot summation, so I'll simply say...if you're a fan of world cinema, a fan of beautiful images or even just a fan of smiling, Amelie is an absolute must-see.
In my opinion this film is about 30 minutes too long and two hours is a long time to be sitting watching a film that runs out of steam after 75 minutes and at times I wondered exactly where it was going. To make matters worse when you do finally get to the ending it is rather poor and disappointing when just emphasises the fact that the filmis overly long and makes it all the more of a let down after the film makes such a promising start.
Audrey Tautou stars as Amelie who is a quiet young girl who often skips off into flights of fancy and she has an active imagination which helps her cope with the loss of her mother and the rather cramped living conditions she endures in her tiny apartment. She is surrounded by an oddball group of Parisiens and she delights in helping others which serves to show the viewer her caring side and whilst on such a quest she sees and falls in love with a young man even though they have never spoken, he is played by Mathieu Kassovitz and the pair sort of pursue each other across Paris without ever sharing a word.
It is a quirky film that has some wonderful backdrops that the city has to offer, she works in Montmatre as a waitress which is one of my favourite parts of Paris with its steep cobbled streets. Tautou plays the character of Amelie with quirky mannerisms howevershe does come across as a bit too goody two shoes at time and to be honest she could have probably carried the role in a shorter film but the whole thing seems to loose direction just over half way through and it feels like the film has been padded out unnecessarily.
It is not all bad though, as well as the beautiful scenery the array of characters used makes the film interesting and it does have a nice heart warming feel to it which is why it is well worth seeing.
In much the same way that a mischievous puppy is initially quite cute and endearing when it eats all the toilet roll and leaves presents on the kitchen floor, Amelie is a largely charming, offbeat film that begins to outstay its welcome. I'd like to describe it as a curious, distinctly Gallic little movie, but at just over two hours, it really isn't very little at all - and after ninety-odd minutes of Audrey Tautou's quirks and foibles, things start to get a fraction tedious.
Still, for those first ninety minutes at least, this is an engaging, refreshing piece of storytelling that justifies the hype that surrounded the film and its quietly charismatic star.
The film plays out as an unconventional romance in which the would-be-lovers don't actually speak to each other until the closing moments of the film; each tracking the other across Paris in what could function as a tourist brochure for the city. Amelie (Tautou) is a somewhat introverted young girl whose relationship with reality is at times tenuous, while her father has been more interested in his precious gnomes than anything else since his wife died. Working in a café and living on her own in a small apartment, Amelie crosses paths with a variety of eccentric characters, but it's only when she discovers an old box hidden behind the skirting-board of her flat that she begins to open up to the world around her.
Tracing the one-time owner of the box, who is delighted by its return and the memories it brings, Amelie experiences a surge of delight at helping someone else and elects to devote herself to the assisting of others. Around her there are people in need, from the lonely woman at the cigarette counter to the maltreated worker at the grocery stall via the old artist living downstairs who's too frail to go out, and in coming to the aid of others, she sets herself on a course for a relationship that will force her out of her shell.
Heavy on style and faintly oddball characterisation, Amelie is at first a delight. Tautou turns in a perfectly-measured performance as the eponymous protagonist, full of wistful charm and innocence, and manages to convey the effect the changes have on Amelie, good and bad. As much as it makes her happy to help others find happiness, when it's her whose future is in question, her activities become a rather more unsettling, demanding business - prompting her as they are to leave behind her familiar routines. Tautou reflects the conflicting desires of her character evocatively, and is throughout the film the very epitome of its whimsical, good-natured eccentricity.
No one character comes in second-billing to Amelie, as the rest of the cast all have relatively minor, if in their own way significant, roles - although perhaps Mathieu Kassovitz (also of La Haine) as Amelie's elusive love interest is the most consequential of these. Each figure that our heroine encounters is memorably portrayed, and these little encounters provide the most enduring parts of the film.
It's just a shame that the story isn't wrapped up a little sooner. What's funny and engaging early on becomes gradually less and less so, and the whole quirky, sugar-sweet tone of the film feels progressively more sickly. By the time the film starts to reach a conclusion, you feel like they're trying a bit too hard to maintain the tone that's worked well up to that point, and what felt natural and convincing before becomes a little forced.
Still, for how enjoyable the majority of the film is, a weak ending can be forgiven. Visually, the colourful, vibrant style on show echoes the sense of character we get, and Amelie's idiosyncratic world is a joy to experience. Personally, I think she was better in Priceless - but this is a nicely made film that goes down smoothly, if one that perhaps seems out of place at #43 in IMDB's movie countdown.
Amelie is a 2001 Ramantic Fantasy directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Starring Audrey Tautou as the title character it follows yonug Amelie who has been sheltered from the real world for a majority of her life and live n her own fantasy world where romance and dreams are possible. Amelie spens mosts of her time spying on her nieghbours and throwing stones in a pond whilst constantly surrounded by oddball characters who she feels obliged to interfere and help out. Its when she unexpectantly sees the love of her life she starts to puzzle together the clues to find her romeo.
The Movie is stunning and uses the setting of paris to as its playing board. The cinematography is beautyfull and complements the characters and surroundings. Its rare to find a film that has such a light tone among a group of characters with problems but it works as it shows it from Amelies point of view. The film often cuts to diffrent scenes to show Amelie's view of the world and are done with diffrent styles of the camra to show her point of view. The DVD has a commentry and a making of but the film outwieghs the extras.
Tautou dominayed the film and is exceptional as the mischievious women who plays with people for amusement. She portrays a ray of light who brings happiness to everyone she meets. She carries the film but what also works is the great supporting cast who each bring a diffrent but endearing personality to the picture.
A gem of a movie
Amelie is a romanic comedy by French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet and stars Audrey Tautou who has since become a lot more famous after also starring in the Da Vince Code.
Amelie as a young girl has a rather bizarre childhood, her mum is killed while she's young by a tourist jumping off Notre Dame and her relationship with her father is always at arms length, especially after the death of his wife when he becomes obsessed by nothing but building a shrine to her. So Amelie grows up in a neighbourhood in Paris with no friends and only her imagination to amuse her. As an adult she works in a cafe in Paris and still amuses herself with her own vices, such as skimming stones. One day she finds a hidden box of a child's treasures, hidden in her apartment in the 50s. She does some investigating and finds the boy who these once belongs to and leaves them for him to find. He is so happy to find them that she then decides she'll spend her time trying to make the life of those around her better in little ways, as best she can. In doing this she meets the neighbours she's never spoken to before, encourages her dad to do more with her life and strikes up a friendship with an old man who is unable to leave his rooms as his bones are too brittle.
One day Amelie sees a man scrapping torn up photos from underneath photo booths. She follows him and he drops his album of unwanted photos behind before she can give it back to him. Of course, with her wanting to make peoples lives better she tries to give the book back to him. She goes to the adult shop he works at and discovers that before this hobby he used to collect photos of peoples footprints in concrete, and recordings of unusual laugh. Amelie, after years of being alone, seems to have found a kindred soul! She goes to the ghost train he also works at and leaves him a series of clues taking him all over Paris to lead him to his book. The two form a weird sort of relationship, without actually talking to each other, but communicating with each other is different ways, until Amelie can get the courage to meet him in person.
This is a typical looking Jeunet film, Paris has a beautiful and ethereal look to it, a lot of green and read lighting is used, sometimes so much that you kind of wonder whether it has to be some obtrusive, I'm sure at some times it would have been ok to see things in there natural light. However, this effect does give the impression that the Paris this is set in isn't the real Paris we know, but a slightly different one where everything is slightly weirder and a little more lovely.
This is a pretty quirky film and Amelie is an excellent character. I love how she interacts with the people she meets and looks over their bad personality problems and tries to help them in the ways she can. And she always does think of very creative interesting ways. It's hard to imagine her being as shy and unconfident as is suggested as she is a girl that everyone likes and gets along with. I think the characters in this film are really what make it what it is, none of them are your typical movie star characters, they're all the weirdos that you'd do your best to avoid at all costs! The relationship that Amelie and Nino have and don't have is really what this film is about, you do hope that something good can happen for Amelie whilst she is doing her good deeds for the people she knows. The romance takes you through a beautiful and interesting Paris, and you really feel yourself on their journey with them. This is a lovely film and one of my favourites, it's a very feel good film and is guaranteed to put a smile on your face by the end.
note: also appears in part on Flixster and The Student Room
Amelie is, to me, an incredibly perplexing film. There was so much hype surrounding it that I had to check it out, but found myself dumbfounded by the ridiculously high acclaim that it recieved. Yes, it is fun and whimsical and gorgeously photographed, but is it really anything more than a light and fluffy chick flick? I'm still not convinced of that, and while it is witty, it adheres to people's romanticised sensibilities about France, while painting a picture that's more self-consciously quirky and pretentious than outwardly fun and free-spirited.
The film's protagonist is Amélie Poulain (Audrey Tatou), a very strange woman who is driven to loneliness by her childhood. Her mother died when she was very young, while her father turned to grief for most of his life and neglected his daughter, causing her to retreat deeper and deeper into her imagination, while also hoping that one day the perfect man will come along who can sweep her off her feet and remove her from this less than desirable situation. After a series of less than exciting trysts, she hears about a nice and seemingly eligible man named Nino Quincampoix (played strangely by famous French La Haine director, Mathieu Kassovitz), but her lack of human contact makes her incredibly inept, and so she has to try and tease an encounter out of him.
Tatou is definitely charming, and the script has some chuckles, but it's hard to get over how over-rated this film has become (particularly if you observe its IMDB rating). Whilst highly overrated, Amelie is a well-made outing that is admittedly sometimes overly quirky, but mostly manages to be charmingly funny dialogue and features a great turn-in by Tatou.
Amelie makes it on to this list as one of the only romance comedies, and to be honest, i think its one of the only romance comedies or even romance movies in my collection of over 300+ films, and yet, it makes it on to my list of the 100 hundred greatest films of all time. So you must be wondering why after that introduction , and when writing the list i asked myself the same question. What is it about Amelie that is so mesmerizing and beautiful? is it the perfect script with its quirky snippets of Amelie's self conscious and humanity? is it the beautiful cinematography and camera work? is it the depth of each and every character in the film and how you feel like you know someone o so very similar to all of them? is it the balance of what is right and wrong and how the innocent and pure get what they deserve? listing all this pretty much answered my question, of course this is a masterpiece, i could watch this film blind and still love it to death, or vise versa i could watch it deaf and be dazzled!
But there was something else to this film, something that kept me thinking and smiling for days after? i couldn't put my finger on it up until the point i just couldn't resist another viewing. I think the films true beauty lies in its heart and passion to its motive. The film, or rather the director and the whole crew really believe in what was portrayed through Amelie, which ends up leaving every viewer feeling just a little bit better about themselves. The film grabs you by the hand and never lets go till the credits roll, and its just one of those films that, even without action, even without big explosions and car chases and helicopter battles with missiles and bombs and guns and fire and smoke, that can keep you on the edge of your seat rooting for everything that Amelie does, and laughing everytime Amelie does something noble or good. A film that has you wanting to know Amelie and be friends with her just because of her personality.
You might think this sounds a bit soppy, a 17 year old boy on the edge of his seat when Amelie leads the guy she fancies on a sort of easter egg hunt through the city of love. Well you know what, i dont bloody care this film is freckin awesome! and i haven't even mentioned how funny it is, ive seen many comedies, and i think to myself while i set through a screening of 'Epic Movie' that with all the apparently hilarious scenes in this film, i laughed harder at a film in a language i couldn't even understand! it just shows how a real script, with heart and passion, go alot futher then somebody falling over alot...
Whilst myself and fellow dooyooer 'reluctantreviews' were looking for something to watch the other night, we came across 'Amelie' or 'Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain' to give it it's original and slightly longwinded French title. As one of us hadn't seen it for years, and the other hadn't seen it at all, we decided to give it a viewing.
Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the film tells the story of Amelie Poulain (Audrey Tautou), an unusual but imaginative woman who is adept at noticing the finer details of life. Upon finding a box in her apartment containing the childhood toys and assorted memorabilia of a former resident, Amelie decides to locate the box's owner and return it. When she notices the effects that a simple act of kindness can bring to others, our eponymous heroine takes it upon herself to become a general doogooder - kind of like a superhero with an agenda to make people happy.
Upon briefly meeting and subsequently losing a man named 'Nino' (Mathieu Kassovitz) who has a discarded passport-photo obsession, things take a turn for the unusual, and a cat and mouse game begins for his affection - but will Amelie get her man?
Beginning with a narrated section explaining Amelie's unusual upbringing, the film is instantly visually impressive, using bold vibrant colours and unusual camera angles to add a general quaintness to proceedings. It seems that since the film was released in 2001, many productions have borrowed from this unique style - an example of which can be seen in the fast paced narrative and vibrant palette used in the series 'Pushing Daisies'.
As a native French film, subtitles are used throughout, and this occasionally results in the viewer missing some of the visual beauty of the film. It's hard to focus on two things at once, and reading whilst taking everything in onscreen is an art which takes a while to adapt to.
I suppose the genre which Amelie would fit into would be a 'lighthearted romantic drama', although this is definitely a lighthearted romantic drama with a twist. The director often focuses on the trivial information which surrounds the plot, rather than the obvious detail, and there are a few sections which utilise isolated CGI elements to add a fairytale style to proceedings. These moments are on the whole very well done, although I feel they could have been utilised more as they add charm and an extra appeal to the film.
As the story progresses, we get to see both side of Amelie, both altruistic and fragile - Audrey Tautou puts in a stellar performance in the lead role, portraying the sweet but unusual young lady with a natural appeal. It's difficult to assess the quality of a performance when it's undertaken in another language, but Tatou seems to be delivering her lines in a exemplorary manner, and is spot-on in her timing. That said, there were times when I found the sugary nature and overly smiley face of Amelie to be a little annoying - but if you've read some of my previous reviews, you'll notice I get annoyed with the slightest detail, and my opinion should usually be dismissed ;)
In terms of the other performances, the supporting other actors are all solid, and although largely peripheral compared to Tatou's role, they help add to the rich tapestry which forms the bizarre world in which they inhabit.
All in all, Amelie is an entertaining and laid-back film which will make a nice change if you've watched a lot of high-octane action flicks recently. Jean-Pierre Jeunet has helped create a colourful and visually exciting movie which tells a story from an unusual perspective, and although slightly long, it certainly makes for an entertaining spectacle. I would say that the film would perhaps appeal more to a female audience, but due to the dynamic screenplay and visual intregue, it's a movie which should keep all genders happy - recommended.
The DVD version of Amelie costs £4.98 from amazon.co.uk, and contains a director's commentary, storyboards, a teaser trailers, a director's interview, and a 'making of Amelie' featurette.
'Amélie' is French cinema at its finest. Many people may be easily discouraged by the fact that it is in a foreign language but in reality this is in fact barely an issue. Although there is plenty of French to make it a worth while watch for those studying the language, the images themselves a simply captivating and intriguing to watch. Of particular note is the unusual lack of graffiti at Sacre Couer, eliminated at the request of the director, one of his numerous pedantic influences on the film that create a dream like alternative, yet familiar, world.
This film is beautifully romantic, yet quirky and highly unpredictable which, to me, make it so captivating. The best way to descibe it is Quirky, French and Disney-esque. And complemented by the unmatchable talents of Audrey Tautou in the leading role. There is nothing more that could make this film any more perfect.
I was initially forced to watch this film by my sister and mother and was a little reicent due to the fact that it was sold to me as being essentially a love story. This is far far more than your typical romance film however and to be fair calling it a chick flick would probably be a little degrading. It is beautifully shot, it is funny, quirky, whimsical and magical. It centres around the very odd eccentric lonely girl called Amelie. One day she discovers a box that belonged to a child who lived in her house many years ago, she returns it to him and from then on decides to change the lives of other people for the better. The film also centres around a man whome Amelie meets falls in love with and her life subsequently changes. The script is brilliant, every single actor who appears in the film puts in a fine performance and we are able to see an insight into life into life in Monmatre.
What I especially like about this film is that from my experience men and women alike love it, so If girls out there are looking for a romantic film to watch with your partner look no further than this.
Running time: Approx 116 minutes
Audrey Tautou stars as Amelie Poulain, a reserved, eccentric woman who's closest relationships are with people she observes, but stay annonymous from. The film is more a fairy tale, with the beautiful colours and dream like sequences adding to the experience. Amelie was recommended to me by a friend and when I watched it I was captivated by the character and how she finds pleasure everyday in the smallest things. She spots opportunities to help people and does so without their knowing and all the time lacking somehting herself. She lives what is seemingly a lonely life but is too scared to let anyone in. That fear probably resulting from her parent's wrong diagnosis of a serious heart problem as a child. The film is really endearing and addresses lonliness, isolation, but is also really funny, and heartwarming. Will the events featured in the film lead to something that fulfills Amelie's deepest desires, or is that too predictable? You won't be dissapointed by the film, I could watch it again and again.
My favourite film of all time bar none. This film is a work of cinimatic genius. The story line is captivating and the cinamatography is out of this world. I never seen anything quite like it. Audrey tautou plays amelie who is a lonely and socially isolated young women. Due to her sad (and comical) past she learns to live without friends untill one day she finds a small time capsuale left from a previous occupant of her home, and so she begins to become interested in people, in human natute and in love. She embarks on a mission to do good to people, most of the srtangers or acuitences and in doing so she meets a kindrid spirit and develops frienships. She learns of others 'storys' these in themselves are very funny and wildly entertaing. From the moment this film started i was totally captivated. A beautiful film, execllentlly portrayed.
This film has been highly hyped by critics (and my friends) and it got me very curious indeed. However, while it has been brilliantly executed and filmed, it is the overall story that I did not like so much. And I'm not talking about the screenplay either. It's the general theme. I think it's just too naive, and that it romanticises and sweetens things that should have no business getting this treatment, namely isolation and despair. However, once we gloss over these points, I can talk about the positives. The narration and some of the graphic ideas are very original and flawlessly done. The photography is very colourful and one of the strongest points, contributing greatly to this film's charm and appeal with many people. There is a big variety of characters, each of them very peculiar, but not much effort has been made to deepen the psychological understanding of any of them. And that's mainly why my review is not raving like most other people!