Amelie * * * * *
Director: Jean-Pierre Juenet.
Screenplay: Guillame Laurant.
Starring: Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus, Yolande Moreau, Artus de Penguern, Urbain Cancelier, Dominique Pinon, Maurice Benichou, Jamel Debbouze.
Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s collaboration with co-writer/director Marc Caro resulted in a couple of marvellous and inventive films in “Delicatessan” and “The City of Lost Children”. Those two had a dark element to them but now that Jeunet has went his own way, “Amelie” shows that he is the one that possesses the lighter side of the duo.
In the heart of Paris, Amelie (Audrey Tautou) brings joy to her friends, secretly sorting out the sad little problems in their lives. But when she discovers a strange photo album belonging to Nino (Mathieu Kassovitz) she realises that she is in love and has problems of her own to sort out.
I struggle to think of a contemporary film that boasts such richness in detail and creative, infectious enthusiasm as ‘Amelie’ does. It’s playfulness, poetry and emotion are rarely touched upon these days in film and director Jean-Pierre Jeunet deserves applause for his uplifting achievements here. It’s also stunningly shot by cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel (inspired by the paintings of Brazilian artist Juarez Machado) lending an artistic look to the highly creative and artistic content. Without being overly elaborate though, it finds its art in the simple things in life, observing people’s individual pleasures and pains. Quite simply, the whole film is a complete joy to behold. The performances are also delightful. As much as I’m an admirer of actress Emily Watson (whom the role of Amelie was originally intended) I’m glad the relatively unknown Audrey Tautou got the part. She is absolutely adorable and captures the essence of this wonderful character perfectly. With flair and originality that’s hard to come by these days, ‘Amelie’ is one of the most beautiful pieces of cinema I have seen and will always be one of my favourites.
The humour; the look; the characters and performances; the delightful and fitting music by Yann Tiersen all culminate into the ultimate feel-good film and confirmation of the creativity and inventiveness of French cinema. A heartwarming modern classic.
Included in My Top Ten films.