Sunday, April 17, 2011

958. Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amelie Poulain/Amelie (2001)

Running Time: 122 minutes
Directed By: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Written By: Guillaume Laurant, Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Main Cast: Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Serge Merlin, Rufus, Clotilde Mollet


"Amelie", along with three other films (Sherman's March, Alice and The Cow) will be departing the streaming portion of Netflix this week, so I'm trying to watch what I can and decided to pick this one off first. I had always wanted to see "Amelie", as it always looked like something unusual and original...I was right.

It's no surprise that the main character of our tale is Amelie Poulain (Tautou), whom we learn about via a narrator. The narrator tells us tales that seem to be coming from a fairy tale as he recounts Amelie's childhood. Amelie is a normal little girl who is kept from going to school because her parents believe she has a heart defect. She is home schooled and when she is still a young girl, her mother is killed when she is landed on by a suicidal jumper. Like all little girls, Amelie grows up and leaves her childhood home, taking an apartment of her own and waitressing at a restaurant known as the Two Windmills Cafe. On August 31, 1997, Amelie (like all the rest of us) hears the news of Princess Diana's death, which leads her to drop a bottle cap, which leads the bottle cap to roll and knock loose a kitchen wall tile, which leads Amelie to find a tin box containing the toys of a child. Amelie finds out that the box belonged to a boy who lived in her apartment in the 50s and decides to track him down - If he is grateful for the return, she'll continue to do good, if he's not..."too bad". She delivers the box and the recipient is glad to have his possessions back, stating that he may give them to his estranged grandson. From that point on, Amelie makes it her personal mission to turn the frowns of the people around her upside down.

While I wouldn't cite it as my favorite or anything, I would say that "Amelie" is a fantastic film for various reasons. I love how the film blends reality and fantasy into one film. I believe "Amelie" gives us all a chance to relive our childhood a bit, as I believe that "Amelie" is just a child who never grew up...or possibly a child who didn't get to act like a child when she was young, so now she's making up for lost time. I loved the narration and while I've never said it about any other film, I could've listened to the narration through the whole movie, if need be. I was amused by the likes and dislikes of all the main characters at the beginning of the film. The entire film is filled with intricacies that really allow you to gawk in wonderment at the screen. There are times when the film resembles the innocence of a children's movie, but then our main character finds herself in a porn shop and that all gets busted. It's that total blend of different themes and genres that make "Amelie" stand out.

(That's two reviews in a row I've used the word 'wonderment'. Someone needs a thesaurus.)

The film presents us with a handful of characters and also provides us with dozens of loose ends that all get tied up into a nice little bow by the time the credits start rolling. You have "The Glass Man" who sits in his flat all day, because his bones are as brittle as glass and he cannot risk being bumped. "The Glass Man" paints the same picture every year, yet cannot seem to get a handle on one young girl in the painting. It's characters, conditions and situations like that, that make "Amelie" stand out. What a fantastic script this is and what a nurturing movie maker Jean-Pierre Jeunet is, as he obviously put a lot of thought and care into his "Amelie".

I couldn't help but smile when the film actually nailed a few of my own eccentricities, like the fondness that Amelie had for putting her hand into a sack filled with grain and feeling it between her fingers or how she wondered how many people in her city where having intercourse at the exact moment that she had her thought (believe it or not, I've also thought that...surprised I admitted it though).

RATING: 7/10 Man that was just a lot of randomness. Sometimes I just can't find words and therefore I ramble and admire. Sorry. The film is great, by all means see it and if you're a Netflix streamer, you have until the 21st.


April 17, 2011 6:30pm


  1. Yep, I liked this film so much that I actually bought it. I loved the stuffed dog in the concierge' apartment. That brought memories of Roy Roger's stuffed horse, Trigger. I could go on and on about all the little sparks in this movie.

  2. Thanks for commenting. THERE are indeed so many little intricacies in the plot of Amelie and that's what made it for me. Please stop back anytime!


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