Retro Review: Amelie

The new French film “Amelie” tells the story of what happens when two unsuspecting introverts find love. Newcomer Audrey Tautou plays Amelie, a reluctant and reclusive girl who has a peculiar way of interacting with the people in her little part of Paris.

Amelie is looking for love and a way to understand the world around her. Her misadventures and interactions with an introverted photo-collector delve into blissful hilarity.

“Amelie” is one of those little comedies that comes along and changes your whole idea on what comedies mean to us as a society. This little French film is just that. It’s flawless in its execution as we really get close to Amelie and her deeply set and introverted world.

Tautou is a cinematic treasure that can only be compared to the likes of silent screen actresses of the 1920’s. She can say so much in a tilt of the head and a blink of the eye. It is utterly amazing how films can discover amazing unknowns.

I loved the film for its honesty, humor and how a lot of us are afraid to take chances in our lives. This is so very felt in all the characters in this film. When you see a film of this caliber you wonder why can’t North Americans make comedies like this anymore. North American comedies seem to be focused on toilet humor and gross out gags as we continue to be hung up on our social taboos. Don’t get me wrong there are funny North American comedies just none that I can recall that are as genuine as this one.

There is some brilliant writing and direction in this film as the writer-director enlightens us with so many original and captivating characters like the “brittle-boned” painter and maybe even the pig that turns out Amelie’s light. Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who wrote and directed the film, really has struck gold with Amelie.

Jeunet is usually connected more with the macabre and blackest of French comedies including “Delicatessen” and “City of Lost Children”. Jeunet’s last film was “Alien: Resurrection” of all things.

When the Oscars come calling I hope “Amelie” should be crossover foreign film like “Crouching Tiger”, “Il Postino” and “Life is Beautiful”. It should be nominated for at least best actress (Tautou), best picture and best director.

(4.5 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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