HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Killer Party
Holmes & Watson
Monster in the Closet
Sand, The
Glass
My Brilliant Career
Knife for the Ladies, A
Man in the Attic
Destroyer
Fillmore
Bumblebee
No Kidding
Honkytonk Man
Woman in the Window, The
Shed of the Dead
Dead Easy
Tucked
Widows
Last Movie Star, The
Death Game
Juliet, Naked
November
Arcadia
Sugar Hill
House with the Clock in Its Walls, The
Devil Thumbs a Ride, The
Suspiria
Secret People
Spy Who Dumped Me, The
Beautiful Stranger
House That Jack Built, The
Undercover
White Chamber
R.P.M.
Summer of 84
On Secret Service
Survive!
My Sister Eileen
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween
Last Picture Show, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
Tucked: The Derren Nesbitt Interview
Locomotion Pictures: The Best of British Transport Films on Blu-ray
Roman Scandals: Extreme Visions from Ancient Rome
Spider-Wrong and Spider-Right: The Dragon's Challenge and Into the Spider-Verse
Monster Dog: Cujo on Blu-ray
For Christ's Sake: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ
Not In Front of the Children: Inappropriate Kids Movies
Deeper into Ozploitation: Next of Kin and Fair Game
Between the Wars: Babylon Berlin Series 1&2 on DVD
Hard Luck Story: Detour on Blu-ray
Oh, What Happened to You? The Likely Lads on Blu-ray
Killer Apps: The Rise of the Evil 60s Supercomputers
How 1970s Can You Get? Cliff Richard in Take Me High vs Never Too Young to Rock
A Perfect Engine, An Eating Machine: The Jaws Series
   
 
  Amelie French FancyBuy this film here.
Year: 2001
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Stars: Audrey Tautou, Matthieu Kassovitz, Rufus, Lorella Cravotta, Serge Merlin, Jamel Debbouze, Clotilde Mollet, Claire Maurier, Isabelle Nanty, Dominique Pinon, Artus de Penguem, Yolande Moreau, Urbain Cancelier, Maurice Bénichou, Michel Robin, Andrée Damant
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Fantasy
Rating:  8 (from 3 votes)
Review: Having spent a largely lonely and unhappy childhood, Amélie Poulain (Audrey Tautou) grows up with a strong sense of justice and a willingness to help others, qualities that are somewhat unique for a humble waitress at a Montmartre café. One day, a chance discovery inspires Amélie to dedicate her life towards bringing happiness to those less fortunate than she, while punishing those who deserve it. Her eccentric crusade brings her into contact with a young man named Nino Quincampoix (Matthieu Kassovitz), a similarly lovable oddball who works in a porno shop and collects discarded passport photographs as part of his own arcane quest. Amélie falls in love with Nino, but is too uncertain and insecure to approach him herself…

Le Fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain - to give its full French title - was arguably the world-conquering French film phenomenon of the last decade. Much despised by a vocal minority of crotchety critics and unjustly overlooked come Oscar time in favour of the more political No Man’s Land (2001), Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s vibrant and magical comedy was nevertheless largely well-received, immensely popular with audiences across the globe and looks more and more like a modern classic with each passing year. What some may cynically dismiss as sickly sweet is actually an ode to kindness, altruism and simple everyday joy.

Not since the days of Georges Méliès had a French film so delighted in visual trickery and yet the special effects deeply interwoven into the story’s subtext which asks us to take a second look at the world around us and all its wonders. It is a live action animated cartoon in which Jeunet utilises Bruno Delbonnel’s sumptuous photography and award-winning production design from Aline Bonetto to conjure a charmingly retro fantasy world. Drawn from fairytales and vintage pop culture, Amélie inhabits a world of talking animals, living objects worthy of Jean Cocteau and laugh-out-loud sight gags, but the visuals aren’t empty as most such fantasies, but rich in humanity.

As in his early short film Les Foutaises, Jeunet points to the little things, near-subconscious musings that reveal human nature: the tastiest parts of a chicken, a baby joyfully swimming underwater, a horse running in the Tour de France. He highlights the poetry in everyday strangeness, those seemingly simple, indefinable pleasures many of us fail to notice. Amélie and Nino are marked as kindred spirits, sharing the same fascination with such supposedly trivial yet actually life-affirming details.

More than just a sweet-natured love story, the film is an ode to community as Amélie’s misadventures help her learn a thing or two about her oddball neighbours, each of whom has a wistful tale to tell. Her acts of kindness are genuinely touching: she reunites dejected Monsieur Bretodeau (Maurice Bénichou) with his box of childhood treasures which moves him to tears, makes a blind man’s day by describing his surroundings in wondrous detail, and fakes a letter to Mrs. Wells (Yolande Moreau) from her long-lost sweetheart.

But the film belies its saccharine reputation with a kinky streak - including Amélie’s orgasm fantasy and a variation on the noisy sex gag from Delicatessen (1990) - and some delightfully twisted humour, notably our heroine’s inspired revenge upon the boorish Monsieur Collignon (Urbain Cancelier). It’s worth pointing out, not all of Amélie’s feel-good schemes go to plan. Her matchmaking efforts with Joseph (Jeunet’s regular star Dominique Pinon) and hypochondriac Georgette (Isabelle Nanty), only divert his paranoia and keep her miserable. You can’t win ’em all. Jeunet may have digitally removed most of the graffiti from Montmartre’s streets, but his is not a conservative, backward-looking vision as some claim, but an attempt to recreate the joie-de-vivre of the Belle Epoque in a contemporary setting. Although criticised for omitting its racially diverse community, Jeunet includes stand-up comedian Jamel Debbouze in a pivotal role as downtrodden but good-hearted grocery boy Lucien and firmly denounces bigoted bullies like Collignon.

Originally written with British actress Emily Watson in mind, whose French allegedly wasn’t up to scratch, Jeunet re-cast the film with pop star Audrey Tautou after seeing her face on billboards across Paris. It proved a star-making role for the angelically lovely Tautou who tempers her potentially goody two-shoes heroine with just the right amount of deliciously perverse mischief and heart-breaking vulnerability. She is perfectly matched by an endearingly boyish Matthieu Kassovitz while a strong supporting cast each enjoy their moment in the spotlight. Features a beautiful score by Yann Tiersen and a priceless gag with a globe-trotting gnome that inspired a spate of real-life imitators.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 3374 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Paul Shrimpton
Darren Jones
George White
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: