But Amelie is much more than a simple "feelgood" movie. The pixie woman herself is a shining symbol for our times. Set at the time of Princess Diana's death, Amelie is struck with a plan to offer goodness back to the world--to become the Mother Teresa of France. The film never offers a motive for this do-gooding--like all great martyrs Amelie simply is and does as she pleases to please others. She demands no thanks for her offering of love, simply hiding in the shadows and gaining the warm glow of satisfaction from the knowledge that she has managed to change someone's life. Her selflessness is a breath of fresh air in a dog-eat-dog world where we ignore our neighbour's troubles, and each other's loneliness. Featuring a strong supporting cast who play fully rounded characters, as well as the beautiful imagery and typical French humour which borders on the black, Amelie will leave the viewer feeling like the happiest person alive.
On the DVD: Disappointingly low on features for such a well-loved release, this disc has one treasurable special feature: a commentary (in English) by the enigmatic Jean-Pierre Jeunet which is pure joy (it's also refreshing to hear an accent other than American--a rarity for the DVD format). The disc comes with a choice of Dolby Digital or DTS sound adding to the enchantment of the piece; the anamorphic widescreen print enhances the rich colours so loved by Jeunet.--Nikki Disney
I must say I'm shocked by reviewers who could give this only one star, and I find it somewhat depressing. What a grey, dull, cynical world they must live in, where belief cannot be suspended for a moment and one must be locked forever into a hard unchanging reality.
As the film says, 'the times are hard for dreamers.'
Jeunet's eye for spotting rare and beautiful moments that happen around us every day, doesn't miss a trick. In 'Amelie', he reminds us of the simple pleasures that we all enjoyed as children, and forgot about as we grew into adulthood. It is this theme, more than any other that repeats constantly during the film.
The people in Amelie's world are quirky and eccentric, yet set in typical mundane lives. Everyone has a hidden wonder beneath them, and in Amelie's quest, nobody is spared. Dreams are fulfilled, lovers are united, broken hearts mended and lost treasures are reconciled with their once-jaded owners, and the clever and intricate methods by which Amelie performs her tasks will leave you smiling from ear to ear.
For instance, a scene that will stay in my heart is when Amelie helps a blind man to cross the road. As she does so, she starts describing in vivid detail, the scenes surrounding them both as they walk down a busy Parisian street. Such a simple gesture, yet handled by Jeunet, it becomes a treasured moment. The scene only lasts 10-15 seconds, but will leave you feeling warm, and almost saddened at the everyday sights that you take for granted and never notice.
All in all, the acting (Audrey Tatou in particular), is amazing, the camerawork and direction is stunning (only to be expected of Jeunet's work, such as "Delicatessen" & "City of Lost Children") and the ideas behind the film are ingenious and yet very simple.... Read more ›
Don't worry about the subtitles, there's no problem in following screenwriters Guillaume Laurant and Jean-Pierre Jeunet's plot. Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet's doe-eyed heroine Amélie (Audrey Tautou) has had a lonely childhood and an unsatisfying love life. Her father is a glum recluse, who never offered her any physical contact, warmth or love (but who cherishes his garden gnome) and her neurotic mother was killed by a suicide jumper who hit her on the way down outside Notre Dame. As a result, Amélie has become wrapped up in her dreams as a way of escaping her lonely life. By day, she waits table at a Montmartre brasserie frequented by many eccentric characters and at night, she goes home alone to a little box flat with a rear window from where she can spy on her neighbours and dream of what their lives must be like. Until one day when she discovers a box of discarded toys left behind in her apartment 40 years ago and begins a search for the man-boy who once owned them. Finding that she can make a difference to other peoples lives, Amélie's own life is given a new purpose and a new vocation but can she find love and happiness for herself?
Some critics have complained that Amélie's is a right wing exercise in nostalgia and that Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet's depiction of Montmatre is too lushly perfect, whilst others have criticised it for being nothing more than a rip-off of Jane Austen's Emma.... Read more ›
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