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Amélie Review

By Joe Lozito

Bon "Amélie"


French actress Audrey Tautou shares more than just first names with a famous Hepburn. She has the same natural beauty and infectious smile that carried "Roman Holiday" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's" among others. Indeed, as the title character in Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amélie, Ms. Tautou channels some of Holly Golightly's flighty ways, albeit on an even more modest budget.

The film has a wonderful sense of humor. The opening ten minutes are a whirlwind as characters are paraded before the screen, their likes and dislikes cataloged like Playboy centerfolds. This technique - which could has grown tiresome, but leaves you wanting more - works so well because the script by Mr. Jeunet and Guillaume Laurant finds a wealth of material in life's everyday circumstances. The film itself thrives on everything that makes life interesting. Each character has a backstory to tell, whether you want to hear it or not.

The film's plot unfolds very naturally. We learn about the characters in Amélie's life and as she makes it her mission to step in to give some joy to their lives, remaining in the shadows like a kind of karmic superhero, we understand the ramifications of her actions no matter how miniscule.

"Amélie" takes place in a Paris of filmdom. Mr. Jeunet (Delicatessen, Alien: Resurrection) films every scene as if it's a reference to a famous painting. But it is Ms. Tautou's presence that carries the film. She has a star quality about her. As her impossibly wide eyes stare at the world with awe, wonder or sadness, we, for a short time, see the world through those eyes. Her gift to us is that, at least for 2 hours, the world looks pretty good.

What did you think?

Movie title Amélie
Release year 2001
MPAA Rating R
Our rating
Summary Bewitching French confection follows the titular flibberty-gibbit as she embarks on a mission to better the lives of those around her and stumbles, along the way, upon love.
View all articles by Joe Lozito
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