Those French are just so damn whimsical.
Amélie Poulain (Audrey Tautou) lives in Paris and in a world of her own. She works in a café, rents an apartment. Life seems to be dull but ok. Except that she’s lonely. Then everything changes. When Amélie discovers an old box of childhood treasures in her apartment and returns it secretly to its middle-aged owner, it transforms his life – and hers.
I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of films that are whimsical just to be whimsical, which is why I went into this flick with low expectations. However, by the 20-minute mark I knew I just had to give in.
Writer/director Jean-Pierre Jeunet seems to be a legend where he’s from and I can definitely see why. First of all, he makes this film look beautiful and probably the most beautiful that I’ve seen Paris look ever, which is really saying something. It’s so colorful and just gives you this warm feeling whether we’re in a bistro drinking some coffee, in an sleazy adult-video store, checking out an old fun house ride, or just simply walking around the streets of Paris. I’m a sucker for Paris locations as it is so it was kind of a given that this film, visually, was going to take me over.
When it comes to the script though too, there’s a whole lot of fun and originality to be had. The ideas that this film keeps on stewing out gets better and better. There are things here that Jeunet does with this simple “boy meets girl” story, that I could never think of in a billion years. It also helps that this film practically had me chuckle every time they made a little funny joke that sometimes may be a little annoying with all of the whimsy they use, but in the end just works because of the fun and light approach that this film is given with its script and direction. It’s just one of those scripts that features a great sense of humor that can find even the most pessimistic person in the world, at least getting a little smile on their face.
The script is so charming though, mainly because of its heart that makes you realize that there’s more beauty in the world. There are so many things out there in life that we usually don’t ever take a look at because it’s just there but in reality, it can bring out the happiest moments in anybody’s simple life. Things like skipping stones, popping bubble wrap, collecting photo stubs from those booths, playing a game of marbles, and so many other countless little things in our life that can make us so happy and bring us back to a nostalgic and innocent time in our lives. The general premise is so nice and sweet that it’s even better to see that it’s heart is in the right place after all, and focuses on the finer things in life that surround us.
There were little nitpicks that I did have with this flick and even though everybody here may call me a dick and whatnot, I still had some problems. Sometimes, I felt like the flick would be a little contrived with the events that happened and especially with the whole love thing between Amelie and her boy-toy because they both love each other but for some odd reason, she keeps on playing cat-and-mouse with him. I get that your nervous and don’t know what to do, but sometimes it can just be a little strange. Also, the whole narration makes Amelie feel more like an urban legend rather than a real person so the whole time that’s what I basically looked at her as and nothing else. Then again, these are just nitpicks so don’t mind me.
Amelie is is a great character to begin but having the amazing Audrey Tautou play her, seems like the perfect choice. Tautou is so damn cute that every scene where she is just looking at whatever it is, you can’t take your eyes off of her, however, it’s also the fact that her character is just so nice, so sweet, so full of life, and so delightful to be around is what makes her such a great character to begin with. Yes, I never felt like I was watching a real person here but then again, I don’t really think the film was going for that and that’s why I have to say that I enjoyed watching Amelie herself and Tautou play her so well. Everybody else is very good here as well and makes me really want to go and check out how pleasant actual people are in Montmartre.
Consensus: Some parts may feel contrived, but Amélie is still a fun, delightful, and charming flick that has originality in every scene and feels like it not only was a bunch of fun to write, but film as well and that fun is contagious.
Ahh… one of my favourite films. Love the joke throughout the film about the travelling gnome.
Hahah that was funny and it was so obvious that the traveling commercial totally took that idea!
Loved your review. Amelie is one of my favorite feel-good pictures. Anytime I’m feeling down in the dumps I just need turn this movie on.
It’s a fun movie that will definitely put you in a better mood. Thanks Dave!
It may be whimsical but it is definitely fun. Great sense of humor and Tautou is perfect as Amelie.I agree that the narration is a bit odd at points though.
It does get a bit weird but it still keeps on being fun and amusing the whole time. Thanks Evan!
This is one of my all-time favorite films. I need the 2-disc DVD set. I just fell in love with this film instantly and I want Audrey Tautou right now, in my bed.
I liked this one too. I do rememebr as the movie went on i found it a bit unbleievable a guy would go that far for a girl, but that is just a minor complaint.
It’s really a great movie and charming sounds it up perfectly. It’s a small feel good film!
I saw this so long ago that I can’t remember much about it except that it was charming and that I loved it. Great review, you’ve made me want to give it a rewatch.
It sounds like you tried your damndest to dislike this film, but just couldn’t help loving it. You even still try with your nitpicks, which aren’t much against the whole of the movie. 🙂
I love this film, for all the reasons you mentioned and more. The character of Amelie may be the most appealing character ever put on film.
This is definitely one of my favorite films. You definitely hit the nail on the head with the whimsy and the general attitude of the story, but I cannot believe that you didn’t mention the amazing visuals! There are so many clever little moments in this film that would never have happened in a typical Hollywood pic. That alone makes Amelie worth watching; the high quality of the movie was just icing on the cake for me.
Always a favorite choice to show new girlfriends.
[…] Image source: http://clothesonfilm.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/The-Big-Lebowski_KB_John-Goodman_serial-killer-sunglasses.bmp.jpg2) Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain  – (IMDb: 8.5) […]
What a wonderful review! Just what I’ve been looking for 🙂
Check out mine! http://moviereviewsdirect.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/amelie-the-uniquely-creative-french-film-2001/
Have you seen romantics anonymous? I think thats one film you’d really enjoy! 🙂
All the best x