Posted on 2/02/12 12:54 PM
A rich and mesmerizing film, Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amelie Poulain ("The Fabulous Destiny of Amelie Poulain") was worthy of all it's praise, and more. It's hard to believe that the role that catapulted French actress Audrey Tautou to international fame was not actually written for her (it was written specifically for Emily Watson, an American actress who didn't speak French) - Tautou seamlessly convinced me that she WAS Amelie.
***May Contain Spoilers***
Amelie is a shy waitress that embarks on an ambitious journey to change the lives of those around her with random acts of kindness. Some are devious, some are simple, some are whimsically silly and fun. All the while, she struggles with her own isolation from those around her. None present this to her more than her reclusive neighbor, Raymond, a painter who suffers from a brittle bone condition. His painting become reflections of her isolation, forcing Amelie to consider working on her own life and not just meddle in others lives (with good intentions).
*** End Spoilers ***
The rich colors almost make you feel as if you were watching a cartoon; yet, you are very much watching live interaction between Amelie and her surroundings. Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who originally started collecting the stories and memories as far back as 1974, (wonderfully) introduces characters with their idiosyncasies and simple pleasures. The Two Windmills is not only staffed, but patronized by a gang of eccentrics, and is a real cafe in the city of Montmartre - the setting of the film. It's not hard to see why Amelie won best film at the European Film Awards, four Cesar Awards (including Best Film and Best Director), two BAFTA Awards (including Best Original Screenplay), and was nominated for five Academy Awards (a feat in itself considering it was entirely in French).
I cannot say enough great things about this little gem - it has remained on my top ten since my initial viewing. A true "feel-good" film, Amelie is imaginative, beautiful, rich in color and plot; and, perhaps one of the most creative films I will ever see.