Amelie review by crosshairs

Quite arguably the most beautiful movie of the year.

Story Summary

Amelie Poulain (Audrey Tautou) is a girl who grew up in a world in which she was only allowed to observe and not interact with. As a result her imagination becomes quite well developed and yields an interesting perspective on life. She eventually leaves the nest and becomes a waitress in a French caf/bar. As life would have it, she discovers a small box of memories behind a loose tile in her bathroom and decides to return it to its rightful owner. This one small act of kindness carries her off onto a fanciful quest of good deeds and a bit of justifiable mischief. Her quirky perspective and imagination add a touch of humor to her schemes and make the outcomes sweeter.


It is quite obvious that Jean-Pierre Jeunet set forth to create a beautiful movie. The casting, music, cinematography, editing, and plot sum together convolving art and technical precision into a spectacular experience. The introduction, not exactly created in the same style as the rest of the movie presents the background insight in an entertaining manner. The 8mm-esque editing gives the sense the intro is pressing forward quickly. This actually seems to work well since the intro is quite long, but necessary. As the movie develops the fast-forward seems to die down naturally and takes on its own pace. The colors become more vivid, as does the music and sounds. At the same time the shots become longer and more flowing. Having said that, this movie is actually a collage of stories that you might read about on the fourth page of the newspaper. An example is a mysterious discovery of a mail sack which had been lost for 30 years in the mountains and is eventually delivered. This is a nice touch, because it makes the movie timeless, with one exception, the reference to Princess Dis untimely death. Jeunet admittedly included this intentionally to convey it is a contemporary storyline and force the viewer into the present (or recent past). Otherwise, the entire story could easily be told today as it could have been told 30 years ago. One of the most interesting themes running through the movie is the constant obsession with lifes little nuances. The things that make it worth living that often go unnoticed. Take for example the introduction, the viewer sees Amelie as a young child doing things that seemingly make no sense, however things that all kids either enjoy doing or have at least done once. Tautou brilliantly carries this same wide-eyed curiosity throughout the movie. Some have described it as nave, I offer that it is more a sense of childlike creativity instead of not-knowing. She is quite deliberate in all of her actions and schemes, which would never work out if she lacked understanding of the human condition. The stories, in and of themselves, are touching, but I feel the most inspirational parts of the movie are the underlying themes which might go unrecognized.

One theme that I feel might go unnoticed, but which I tremendously enjoy is the ongoing collection of memory stones. Amelie gathers stones throughout the movie and has obviously done so since she was a small girl. As she becomes perplexed or troubled, she returns to a small creek with a waterfall that has offered her refuge before and skips the stones she has gathered in the still reflecting waters. The movie is filled with beautiful notions such as this, which offer insight into the character of Amelie as well as remind the viewer of the simple pleasures in life. As the movie progresses, Amelie brings joy to many peoples lives, however, there is still one person whom she has difficulty helping herself. It is often easier to see what others need and offer, than it is to see ones own needs, and expose oneself to weakness or vulnerability. This appears to be the only difficulty Amelie has throughout the story. This is ironic when noting the world thinks she has a weak heart (which was only mis-diagnosed at an early age), when in all actuality, her heart is not only healthy, but is the one thing driving the movie along.

DVD features

There is no reason to not see this movie. The DVD offers English subtitiles, English dubbing, French subtitles, and the original French dubbing. It also offers French and English commentaries throughout the movie. It also has a second disk which contains casting trials, a Q&A session with the director, and a few more things.

Final Thoughts

All in all, this movie is a wonderful little film about the happy things in life and what keeps us going. The storyline is interesting. The main characters for the most part are pretty well developed at least for the parts that they play. The film is gorgeous, and the casting superb. It is obvious why this movie received 5 Oscar nominations.

10 out of 10 Jackasses
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