Rating and Review:
Directed by: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Starring: Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus, Yolande Moreau, Artus de Penguern, Urbain Cancelier and Maurice Benichou
"Amelie" feels perhaps a bit too familiar, but it is warm and funny. Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet makes us laugh with details and his frenzy of montages. It's hard to even begin to imagine this is the same man who made "Alien Ressurection". Maybe Hollywood is not really the place a French director should go.
The film begins in a way that reminds me of "Magnolia". We jump from scene to scene, meeting different characters and knowing their weird habits. Everyone is in one way or another connected to our heroine, Amelie (Audrey Tautou), who one day decides she should give an effort in making the dreams of those around her come true.
The first half of the film is pure setup. One by one, we learn the problems of those around Amelie - her father has never recovered from her mother's death; her neighbor is heart broken after her husband left her; her colleague at work is lonely and ill, etc. One can almost guess what the rest of the film is about, and it is indeed a disappointment that the film does not deviate one bit from the expected course.
But what catches our attention in this film is not the story, but rather how the director tells it. We have seen plots like this a thousand times, but seldom are they made so well with so much fun. Though I must say some of the humor is overdone, there are scenes that are so brilliant everything else is forgiven.
I don't think I like the (relatively) serious side of this film, which concerns the love affairs of Amelie herself. There is a witty subplot involving Amelie and her prince united by an unidentified figure who, as expected, turns out to be someone less mysterious than they thought, but when it comes to Amelie talking about love with an old painter that lives nextdoors, it is almost as boring as one of those shrink sessions in "Good Will Hunting".
"Amelie" is a relaxing ride filled with humor and colors. There is nothing groundbreaking about it, but it does offer some really wonderful moments, or maybe even more if you are not very good in guessing what is going to happen next.
© Marcus Chan 2001