Some films are just very well-told stories, with a distinct identity that fits the narrative perfectly. Amelie is one of those movies. From the moment it begins you realise you are watching a film which is “quirky” but unlike many movies which try this style, Amelie actually suits this approach, making it charming rather than a gimmick.
This becomes apparent from the opening scenes. They are fast-paced, cover the full childhood and adolescence of the titular character, with some funny moments, shocking moments and sad moments but ultimately very entertaining. This doesn’t relent either, as adult Amelie is the sort of character you wish you knew in real life, so as you watch her complete her good deeds and solve the problems of the lives of the people around her, you can’t help but smile and be swept away with the experience.
It also helps that the main plot and sub-plot, mostly regarding the multitude of other characters Amelie is helping, is well-written and engaging. There are no twists and turns, and aspects of the film are slightly predictable, but this is a movie which delights rather than stresses, with the drama coming from the central love story rather than anything too contrived and important.
The star of the whole movie is of course Aubrey Tautou as Amelie. She barely speaks, emotes with a wry smile, a raised eyebrow or an excited grin, and lets the story whisk her off her feet as she tries to make the lives around her so much better. Tautou creates an iconic character and one that she will struggle to better in her career.
Overall, Amelie is an unashamed feel-good movie. It tells a nice story, with a lot of heart and the right amount of quicks to make it feel unique without gimmicky. Tautou is superb as Amelie and creates a character you wish you knew in “real-life.” A charming movie.
Rating – 4
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