Those French are just so damn whimsical.
Amélie Poulain (Audrey Tautou) lives in Paris and in a world of her own. She works in a café, rents an apartment. Life seems to be dull but ok. Except that she’s lonely. Then everything changes. When Amélie discovers an old box of childhood treasures in her apartment and returns it secretly to its middle-aged owner, it transforms his life – and hers.
I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of films that are whimsical just to be whimsical, which is why I went into this flick with low expectations. However, by the 20-minute mark I knew I just had to give in.
Writer/director Jean-Pierre Jeunet seems to be a legend where he’s from and I can definitely see why. First of all, he makes this film look beautiful and probably the most beautiful that I’ve seen Paris look ever, which is really saying something. It’s so colorful and just gives you this warm feeling whether we’re in a bistro drinking some coffee, in an sleazy adult-video store, checking out an old fun house ride, or just simply walking around the streets of Paris. I’m a sucker for Paris locations as it is so it was kind of a given that this film, visually, was going to take me over.
When it comes to the script though too, there’s a whole lot of fun and originality to be had. The ideas that this film keeps on stewing out gets better and better. There are things here that Jeunet does with this simple “boy meets girl” story, that I could never think of in a billion years. It also helps that this film practically had me chuckle every time they made a little funny joke that sometimes may be a little annoying with all of the whimsy they use, but in the end just works because of the fun and light approach that this film is given with its script and direction. It’s just one of those scripts that features a great sense of humor that can find even the most pessimistic person in the world, at least getting a little smile on their face.
The script is so charming though, mainly because of its heart that makes you realize that there’s more beauty in the world. There are so many things out there in life that we usually don’t ever take a look at because it’s just there but in reality, it can bring out the happiest moments in anybody’s simple life. Things like skipping stones, popping bubble wrap, collecting photo stubs from those booths, playing a game of marbles, and so many other countless little things in our life that can make us so happy and bring us back to a nostalgic and innocent time in our lives. The general premise is so nice and sweet that it’s even better to see that it’s heart is in the right place after all, and focuses on the finer things in life that surround us.
There were little nitpicks that I did have with this flick and even though everybody here may call me a dick and whatnot, I still had some problems. Sometimes, I felt like the flick would be a little contrived with the events that happened and especially with the whole love thing between Amelie and her boy-toy because they both love each other but for some odd reason, she keeps on playing cat-and-mouse with him. I get that your nervous and don’t know what to do, but sometimes it can just be a little strange. Also, the whole narration makes Amelie feel more like an urban legend rather than a real person so the whole time that’s what I basically looked at her as and nothing else. Then again, these are just nitpicks so don’t mind me.
Amelie is is a great character to begin but having the amazing Audrey Tautou play her, seems like the perfect choice. Tautou is so damn cute that every scene where she is just looking at whatever it is, you can’t take your eyes off of her, however, it’s also the fact that her character is just so nice, so sweet, so full of life, and so delightful to be around is what makes her such a great character to begin with. Yes, I never felt like I was watching a real person here but then again, I don’t really think the film was going for that and that’s why I have to say that I enjoyed watching Amelie herself and Tautou play her so well. Everybody else is very good here as well and makes me really want to go and check out how pleasant actual people are in Montmartre.
Consensus: Some parts may feel contrived, but Amélie is still a fun, delightful, and charming flick that has originality in every scene and feels like it not only was a bunch of fun to write, but film as well and that fun is contagious.