Movie Review #657
Claudie Ossard & UGC present…
…in collaboration with Sofinergie 5…
…supported by Filmstiftung…
Co-production: Victoires Productions – Tapioca Films – France 3 Cinéma – MMC Independent
Distribution: Miramax Films – Miramax Zoë
Country: France – Germany
Spoken Languages: French – Russian
Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Produced by Jean-Marc Deschamps and Claudie Ossard. Scenario by Guillaume Laurant and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Dialogue by Guillaume Laurant.
Rated R by the MPAA – sexual content. Runs 2 hours, 2 minutes. Limited release in the USA on November 16, 2001. Wide release in France on April 25, 2001.
Narrated by André Dussollier. Starring Audrey Tautou and Mathieu Kassovitz. Also starring Isabelle Nanty Rufus, Jamel Debbouze, Yolande Moreau, Dominique Pinon, and Ticky Holgado.
“Amélie” is, first of all, a truly magical experience. This is a biography of the most interesting woman who never existed: Amélie Poulain. She’s a reserved, curious girl who has just one friend: us, through the hidden camera.
This is the beautiful result crafted by director Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Jeunet presents Amélie’s life so comically that the story is practically a fantasy. The visual encapsulation (just part of what makes this so wonderfully fast-paced) is indeed impressive. Our director presents a style that’s grand thanks to a few witty touches here and there: slow motion, quirky dialogue, shifting between color and black-and-white, and Samuel Barber’s masterpiece “Adagio for Strings”. Jeunet’s imagination simply is the film, in its every offbeat shade.
“Amélie” is most certainly a romantic comedy, but of a different kind than we’d expect. Amélie doesn’t want to fall in love. Most of the film is her “romantic psychology” of others, not herself, so to speak. Her problem is simply that she is a terribly antisocial and naïve woman. (She even looks much younger than herself!) Her only friend when she was little, a goldfish, was suicidal; and her mother was killed by a suicidal woman. Some moments in Amélie’s life are plainly miserable, but her optimism is what shapes her into a marvelous personality. The movie works thanks to her optimism, as well, and in the end, it’s just like a crême brûlée at her restaurant.