Sunday, January 5, 2014

Movie Review: Amélie (2001)

Amélie is a story about a girl named Amélie whose childhood was suppressed by her Father's mistaken concerns of a heart defect. With these concerns Amélie gets hardly any real life contact with other people. This leads Amélie to resort to her own fantastical world and dreams of love and beauty. She later on becomes a young woman and moves to the central part of Paris as a waitress. After finding a lost treasure belonging to the former occupant of her apartment, she decides to return it to him. After seeing his reaction and his new found perspective - she decides to devote her life to the people around her. Such as, her father who is obsessed with his garden-gnome, a failed writer, a hypochondriac, a man who stalks his ex girlfriends, the "ghost", a suppressed young soul, the love of her life and a man whose bones are as brittle as glass. But after consuming herself with these escapades - she finds out that she is disregarding her own life and damaging her quest for love. Amélie then discovers she must become more aggressive and take a hold of her life and capture the beauty of love she has always dreamed of.
~ Anonymous

This review is going to be a bit different, since it's actually an extra credit assignment for French (don't you wish you were in my class)? And yes, just in case you were wondering, this is a French movie. I have a list of questions to answer, so I'll just do that instead of an actual review; it amounts to almost the same thing anyways. I hope I convince you watch the movie! And you should. After all, I don't even have to think about it to know that this was well worth the trip to the library:)

1. Who are the 3 or 4 most important characters in the film? Also, list the names of the actors playing these characters.
Personally, I believe that the most important characters in the film are Amélie Poulain, Nino Quincampoix, and Raymond Dufayel. Without them, the movie would be terribly boring, and would have had absolutely no conceivable plot. These characters are played by Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, and Serge Merlin respectively.

2. What is this story about? Be very detailed, but don't give the plot away!
The plot centers around a child named Amélie. We first meet her and her family when she's just a child, and even then it's apparent that's she's not just the average kid. For one, her family seemed completely crazy. They each had their loves (which included weird things like, in the case of the father, lining up all his shoes on a table and polishing them one by one), and they each had their hates (which consisted of even crazier things). It was partly due to this that Amélie receded into her imagination as a child. We again meet Amélie when she is a woman, and it seems her entire life is a mess. She is lonely, she talks to almost no one, and things between she and her father are awkward at best. Yet she has no idea how to go about fixing her life. Then, on the day of Princess Diana's death, Amélie uncovers a loose brick, and behind it, a child's memory box. Suddenly she has a purpose in life: no matter where the now-grown boy is, Amélie will find him. If he's touched, she will continue to be a do-gooder; if he is apathetic, too bad. Soon, Amélie finds and tries millions of ways to help the people around her find happiness. She befriends lonely neighbors, writes false letters, and even sends gnomes around the world. It's when she starts falling in love, though, that Amélie realizes she has no clue about how to go about making herself happy. All this time, she's been playing the coward, helping people without revealing herself. But when the time comes, will she be brave enough to fight for what she wants?

3. What group of people would like this movie?
I'd say this is a movie for all ages. Even children would enjoy this movie; they might not be able to grasp the significance of the plot, but they'll surely laugh at the abundant comic scenes. Recalling the times of the Rubick's Revolution, I think the age group for this movie is 5-105. As a side note and further incentive to watch the movie, Amélie is a film that can be watched all year 'round. So get to it, people!

4. Did you like this movie? Why or why not?
I'd like to say I liked this movie, but I didn't. I LOVED IT! If I'd known French movies were this good, I'd have started watching them a long time ago. I can safely say that this is the best French movie I'll ever watch in my life...mostly because this is probably the only French movie I'll ever watch. Still, I enjoyed almost every moment of this movie, as throughout it all, there wasn't a moment where I wasn't tempted to smile. This is a heart-warming movie that shouldn't be missed, and it was much better than I had expected it to be. I still don't get why Audrey's face is painted white on the cover, but at least it's normal in the movie. Premiere called Amélie "the feel-good movie of the year", and there's really no better way to describe it. The romance was adorable, and the ways Amélie helps other people are fun to watch. I found myself paying extra attention to the character Raymond since he was just so hard to figure out. I loved the relationship between him and Amélie, and how they constantly spied on each other. I probably would have watched this movie (if I'd heard of it) even without the extra credit. True to the quote, I finished the movie feeling elated.

5. What rating would you give this movie?
Well...just scroll down to the bottom of this post. That's where my ratings are.

6. What spoilers might ruin the movie for viewers if you told them about it?
Whether or not Amélie gets the nerve to actually speak - in lieu of staring - to Nino would be a major spoiler that would ruin the entire movie for me; their unique romance was one of the main things that kept me watching. The story of "the ghost" (you'll know what I mean if you watched the movie) would definitely be something I wouldn't want told to me. And I really wouldn't want to know what comes of the relationship that starts blooming between Joseph and Georgette. That's probably the only part of the movie that's not completely predictable. 

7. All movies teach a lesson. What did you learn from this one?
This is the moral I was able to patch up from the film: it's right to fight for others and their happiness, but don't forget to fight for yourself as well. This was Amélie's problem. She was adept at doing good deeds for others, but couldn't get the hang of helping herself. That and her shyness is probably why I was so surprised at how, well, forward she was with you-know-who at the end. In fact, I'm still shocked! I wish I had her problem though. What I have to work on is doing good for others and not only myself. I can work on that when I'm older though;)

8. What title would you give your review?
As my review doesn't really have a title, this is a good question. I think I'd title it A Movie That Shall Live on Through the Ages. Why? Because this "feel-good movie" is basically a classic. The moral of the movie is something that can never fade, and as long as the same things are funny in the future, people will always be able to find humor in the very weirdness that is both Amélie and Paris. This movie will easily live on in my heart forever, and probably in those of everyone else who watched the movie too. I think that even grumpy, old Raymond would enjoy a movie like this.

If you still aren't sure about whether or not you want to watch this delightful movie, take a peek at the trailer below:

By the way, I want to quickly share a comment brought to you by my brother. After looking at the unusual color of the face on the movie poster, my brother declared "you call this the feel-good movie of the year? Little kids everywhere will be traumatized!" XD
Movie: Amélie
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Released November 2, 2001
MPAA Rating: R
Screenplay: Guillaume Laurant, Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Run Time: 123 minutes


  1. This review makes me want to see the movie again. That would be my third or fourth time viewing it!
    Madame Véra, prof de français.

    1. I'm glad! I guess that means I succeeded with my review:)