One person can change your life forever.
As a little girl, Amélie (Tautou) lived a very lonely life. Her father (Rufus), a retired army doctor, mistakenly diagnosed her with a heart defect and decided not to let her go to school. Instead, Amélie was taught at home by her mother who was a teacher at a school in Paris. As Amélie grew up having very little contact with other people, let alone children, she created her own imaginary worlds and stories that she would entertain herself with. Now Amélie is a young woman working in a café, but her imagination is just as vivid and colourful and she keeps wandering into her own playful stories. However, one day her life changes when she finds a lost treasure box in her apartment...
Amélie is one of those films that simply flies by and leaves you wondering whether it was really two hours that you’ve just spent enjoying watching it. The storyline is filled with nice little details, handfuls of tiny side stories and a bag of clever ideas. You even get a very graceful and satisfying mystery. If all of this doesn’t seduce you to see Amélie, know that there are also wonderful things to hear in it - the iconic music of Yann Tiersen, some of which you must have already heard thanks to your ivory-tickling friends.
Acting in Amélie is also top-notch, with Audrey Tautou delivering a brilliant impersonation of a kind-hearted, mischievous and slightly quirky woman. But the director has to be praised for letting other actors shine through Tautou’s performance and give just the right amount of depth to their characters. The result is a captivating story where no one and nothing is spare, not even your enjoying smile, which is guaranteed to shine on your face more than once before the credits roll.
In recent years it has been foreign language films rather than the pedestrian efforts of Hollywood that have captured the imagination of the cinema-going public. The success of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sent clear signals that intelligent and original films can also be popular. Amélie goes a long way to confirming that, as it proves to be one of the most innovative, funny and beautiful films of the last few years.
The film follows Parisian waitress Amélie from her conception through a crucial period in her life, as she attempts to bring happiness to those around and find contentment in her own life. Her ‘fairy godmother’ missons are both touching and amusing, as is her attempt to find love with fellow eccentric Nino. The storyline is quirky and engaging, featuring a suicidal gold fish and a globe-trotting garden gnome.
From start to finish we are treated to a visual and aural feast. Director Jeunet makes the film even more special by digitally enhancing Paris, saturating it with rich colours and making it the most appealing since the films of the French New Wave. Sound also plays an important role, bringing out the small pleasures that the characters get from everyday things like cracking the top of a creme brulée with a spoon.
Audrey Tautou is amazing in the lead role. She plays it with a certain amount of sweet innocence, but manages to add a touch of pathos so that you never feel it’s too sentimental. Some critics have said that watching Amélie makes you want to fall in love, but it’s more that you want to fall in love the way Amélie does for it, like the film, is a truly magical experience.
Screenings of this film:
|2001/2002 Spring Term – (35mm)
|2001/2002 Spring Term – (35mm)
|2005/2006 Autumn Term – (35mm)
|2010/2011 Autumn Term – (35mm)
|2014/2015 Autumn Term – (digital)
|2017/2018 Spring Term – (35mm)
|2021/2022 Autumn Term – (35mm)