I was meaning to write about this last week but I got caught up in other things and once again missed reviewing this movie. It’s not a new movie, however it holds a special place with me as it’s my feel good movie. It’s the movie I watch on a Sunday when I’m slightly depressed “…that it is a Sunday and that Monday’s UGLY UGLY head is slowly poking out of the infested mutant pipe that spawned it”. In case you didn’t catch that I really hate Mondays.

It’s the story of Amelie and if you’re a guy by the end of the movie you’ll be wishing you find yourself a French lady just like her (movie is in French and set in Paris). Every part of this movie screams class. From the opening titles that show a little Amelie doing things that children do to amuse themselves. This is then followed by a lightning fast narrative that picks up random occurances of life, until we reach the birth of our title lady Amelie Poulain.

The casting of little Amelie is incredible and the director Jean-Pierre Jeunet doesn’t fall into the trap of letting his children stars actually talk. I’ll try and elaborate on this a little bit. One of the things that is a big no-no in Hollywood because it generally spells the death of that movie commercially (and most cases critically as well) is using animals as the driving stars or children (there are of course the rare occasions where it all works in a magical way; Sixth Sense comes to mind, but that was an incredibly unique movie anyway). Little Amelie acts the role, but by not speaking and letting her eyes and actions speak we get a lot more convincing performance. It’s a subtle trick and I doubt it would work on me again but because it’s done so well in this movie I love it.

The entire setup is the fact that Amelie was not getting the attention she craved from her father. So much so that the only time he would have any physical contact with her is when he was giving her monthly physical check. This act would get her excited that her heart would beat so hard giving her father the impression she had a heart condition. Thus she was taught at home and made her both odd and closed to the outside world.

The movie follows her life from birth till the present moment as she struggles to find a purpose in life. At the same moment it touches the lives of many people around her. What’s very fun is just how inventive her sense of justice is and how she would go about making sure that justice is served.

One of the most amazing things in this movie is the use of colours. For me at least it set the standard with regards to rendering colours for a film. In fact the only other movie I can think of that comes close to the level of attention to the colours and the use of filters is the chinese epic ‘Hero’ (which I’ll be sure to review at some point as well). The colours leap out at you and add a layer that would have made the movie a lot less rich if they hadn’t obviously given it the attention that it required. By doing this the film is given a distinct look that is different from the very start. Greens and reds are used to dynamic effect.

The acting in this movie is very well done and the all the characters are very well thought out. This is the first movie I’ve seen with Audrey Tautou in it, but she got a fan for life as she plays her part in the most sublime fashion ever. She’s the obvious contender to Audrey Hepburn’s classy movie star queen title (must be something in the name to be honest).

Finally I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the superb soundtrack which gives that French flavour like no other movie can do. Once again another superb layer that is added which elevates. It’s like all the stars were aligned at the right time to make sure this movie was one of the greats.

If you’ve not had the chance to watch this superb movie then I seriously recommend you stop what you’re doing and make sure you secure it for tonight or this weekend. If you’ve got to buy it or rent it or whatever your life will be that much better after you’ve watched this gem captured on celluloid.


  1. Agreed. Amelie is one of my most favorite movies.

    1 katie
    Quote | 11/4/2006
  2. You should see some of his other movies. I will admit that there is a sensibility to this film which makes it more accessible to more people, but some of the points upon which you touched are equally present in other films of his.

    IMDB will serve you well in finding them…

    2 endekks
    Quote | 11/4/2006
  3. Oh yes, definitely check out more of Jeunet’s work. The City of Lost Children is magnificent, and is one of the best examples of how to work with children in a film. As for Tatou, Dirty Pretty Things is an amazing film, although far darker than Amelie. Nevertheless, a great example of her talent. They also collaborated again with A Very Long Engagement - I haven’t seen it, but have heard great things.

    3 Thom
    Quote | 12/4/2006
  4. Thorn/Endekks - Yeah Jeunet is pretty amazing. I’ve not seen Delicatessen yet but I’ve literally just recieved ‘A Very Long Engagement’ so I’ll be sure to review that movie once I get through watching it. It’s always nice when you find a director you can actually trust will make a damn good movie regardless of the topic/subject matter.

    4 Khaled
    Quote | 12/4/2006
  5. Cough. Kurosawa. Cough. ____

    5 endekks
    Quote | 13/4/2006
  6. Indeed a great “feel good” movie.

    Love your writing Kahled, but your amazing diversity makes me think twice before checking your feed, as I am a much simpler person. :)

    6 Olav
    Quote | 15/4/2006
  7. Thanks Olav, much appreciated :), hehe, I’ve never heard that about my feed lol, please don’t leave your thoughts and comments are always appreciated casa khaled :).

    7 Khaled
    Quote | 15/4/2006
  8. I go back to this movie too. It’s such a work of art that can be appreciated on various levels.

    8 dykstraNet
    Quote | 21/8/2006
  9. My girlfriend picked this up a while ago after hearing good things about it and i must admit, it was quite entertaining. I’m 50/50 with subtitled movies but it was enjoyable (and funny). Good review by the way.

    9 Dustin
    Quote | 16/3/2007

Leave a Comment