When impish gamine Amélie (Audrey Tautou), who lives alone, finds a long-hidden trove of toys behind a baseboard in her apartment, she’s inspired to repatriate the items, an impulse of generosity that sparks more benevolent acts. A celebration of life and love, French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Oscar-nominated charmer stresses the importance of small wonders that surround us, if only we paused to look.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Amelie is a sweet natured film with a big heart. The main character, played so eloquently by Audrey Tautou, is the type of sweet-natured girl you can’t help but fall in love with.
It has a simple enough premise: Amelie finds an old box of heirlooms from 40 years ago inside the wall of her apartment. She decides to find the owner and return it to him. If she can succeed, she will try to become a professional do-gooder. Now, this works only because the world that director Jean-Pierre Jeunet has created is not the one we inhabit every day. It’s seen through the lens with exaggerated colors and dream-like sequences to create an adult fairy tale. Cynicism is an outcast here and hope springs eternal. Realistic? No way. But, do we really need reality in our films all the time? I like the idea of seeing the best of humanity, no matter how outrageous it may seem to some. Also, Amelie is not always an angelic do-gooder. There are some very funny moments where she gets back at different bullies she runs into in her life.
So, if I enjoyed the film, why am I giving it only a 7? Well, first off, anything 7 or higher is something I recommend. But, Amelie’s script is not as good as its visual style. Once Amelie starts being a “do-gooder” the script doesn’t know where to go. The situations where she starts to help people are less imaginative and it pushes towards a standard romantic comedy. By the end, Amelie gets what she wants and it appears her days of helping others falls by the wayside. It’s a shame. too. because it had such promise for the first 60 minutes.