Audrey Tautou is impressingly adorable as title character Amélie Poulain, a young woman with the power and imagination to change the lives of just about everyone she comes into contact with. She lives in the moment, enjoying the ways she can bring smiles to the faces of her friends and right the wrongs that she witnesses. She's quiet and seemingly meek, but speaks volumes with her mischievous smile and loving eyes. She finds exciting adventure in what could be the most mundane situations, not taking any little thing for granted.
The film is stuffed with intertwining stories small and large that Amélie drives along, and they are each as important as the next, no matter how much or how little the movie dwells on them. What truly brings happiness? Does the truth really matter if we never know it, when it's what we personally experience that moves us along, for better or for worse. How important is the smallest exchange we may have with a stranger? Sometimes you don't even realize just how much of an effect you have, because you're not seeing the situation from their eyes. But it's all important. The details are all meaningful.
Visually, the film is mostly warm and lush with yellows and reds that pop like blood coursing through the heart. This is contrasted with an undertone of very vibrant greens and cool blues that create a fantastic atmosphere and make everything feel like an organic, natural setting. The color theory here is actually quite amazing, making the film special and nostalgic right from the beginning. It has a lightness, but is still emotional and will leave you with the inspirations of a hopeless romantic. It warms your heart, becoming overwhelming without being overbearing.
Amélie is indeed pure romance. This is the romance of life and it's intricacies, even in it's darkest moments. The film allows you to enjoy even the smallest things that might usually be overlooked and gives importance to the playful particulars of life like the joy of peeling large strips of wallpaper or skipping the best stones along a canal. It shows how one small thing may unfold a series of events that can help you conquer your fears or lead you to where you need to be in life. It shows the perfect, imaginary life we live in our heads and how close to the real world it could actually be. And, of course, it shows true love, as easy or as hard as it might be to find, and just how close it might come to slipping right through your fingers if you're not looking at it from the right angle.
The story centres around well Amélie of course, Amélie Poulain is just a seemingly normal woman working in a Parisian café and lives by herself, but of course we as the viewer get to see what she is truly like. She is not weird really but she is definitely odd, but Amélie is awesome in this film because she is extremely hard to really dislike or the performance of the lady playing her, Audrey Tautou. The plot see's Amélie do a lot of things actually, she becomes a friend of sorts with a fragile old man, tries to find a young man who caught her eye and messes with her dad, sounds like a very random plot and to be fair, it is.
The pacing of the film is frantic and speedy, the lines sometimes come out extremely fast and all credit to the cast for really getting the dialogue out in a way which in funny and entertaining. Jean-Pierre Jeunet directs the movie and really tells quite a little story at the helm, he makes this super strange but really entertaining and although the decision to colour the movie in terms of lenses is quite a peculiar choice, it actually pretty much works in the end. Guillaume Laurant who thought up the story alongside Jeunet then also writes the film and gives Jeunet a great little script to work with, the movie moves along without stopping for too long and that I feel really makes this keep going until the very end.
I mentioned Tautou as Amélie and she is very good in the role, she very much makes you feel for the character and she is fun to be around as well. Serge Merlin as the frail man Amélie befriends is good and works well at the beginning of the story because most other characters take a little while to get used to with the random stuff they say and do. Mathieu Kassovitz as Nino Quincampoix is pretty good too, when he is in the film the story is usually at quite a fast part and so Kassovitz does a good job of keeping the pace going so that the movie really does flow very nicely indeed.
I feel Amélie demands a second watch, I watched this the first time and felt it was pretty basic, but on the second watch I truly opened my eyes and saw this for the great film it is. I couldn't recommend this more to those who haven't already seen it, it's fun, oddly thrilling and just generally very different indeed. So Amélie, a film that showcases how quirky can be done so well but also shows just how good French cinema can be, oh and this movie is stunning to look at by the way.