Amélie - Review (French 2001)

Language - French
Genre - Comedy, Romance, Drama
Release - 2001

"A magical and whimsical ride for the thinking adults, that is both charming and endearing."

Directed by the creatively gifted and talented French auteur Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Amelie is a change of mis-en-scene for the film-maker whose previous successful outings were the dark themed or dark comedy movies such as Delicatessen (one of the finest dark comedies ever !) and the uniquely original The City of Lost Children. Arguably the most popular French movie of modern times for international audiences, Amélie won 4 caesar Awards including Best Film, Director and Music and was also nominated for 5 Academy Awards including Best Foreign Feature film.

The movie stars the talented and beautiful Audrey Tautou in her breakthrough performance as Amélie, a naive and innocent young Parisian with a heart of gold and a 'mischievous' sense of justice. After being misdiagnosed with a heart condition by her father and getting home-schooled, as well as  losing her mother at a young age, Amelie invents a world of her own with her imagination, and absorbs the world outside as the setting in a magical fairy tale.

A visual delight, Amelie packs stunning cinematography and creative special effects that captures the common aspects of Parisian life and it's people in a interesting, smart and entertaining hue, with the Award winning sound and background music as the perfect companion.

Amelie is full of memorable characters, but it's really Audrey Tautou who carries the movie with her innocent charm. A cross between Lewis Carroll's Alice and Robin Hood, the character of Amelie is uniquely refreshing and beautifully sketched out. The simple events in the movie such as Amelie teaching the bullying Grocer a lesson with her pranks, her conversations with 'glass man' or playing cupid in the restaurant where she works as a waitress are brilliantly amusing and entertaining. Even the fairy tale romance in the movie has a distinctively refreshing feel about it and doesn't break out from the character of the film.

Amelie was a breath of fresh air in the world of French cinema; charming in its surrealism and blissfully metaphysical in it's appeal.