Forgotten Friday Flick – “Amélie”

For those who claim that dark tales of woe are the only thing I know, I submit this week’s past picture selection as proof that positive cinema does get its due with me too – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  Continuing the examination of all things foreign film, sport a smile and break out the love for a whimsical tale with plenty of good vibes.  Featuring a timid gal who finds her cupid calling and begins to make lives better for strangers (and herself to boot!), this French fable has ample parts sweetness and signature style guaranteed to melt movie hearts.  Mysterious boxes, ghost plagued photo booths and lawn elves that love to travel – welcome to the wonderful world of Amélie!

Amélie is a curious girl.  Sweet and quiet, but a tad aimless, Amélie is a woman who seeks a purpose in life.  So when she comes across an old childhood keepsake box hidden behind a dresser and returns it to a very appreciative owner she decides to focus on bringing joy to others.  So in the form of playing cupid with patrons inside the café where she works, giving artistic inspiration to her frustrated painter neighbor, sending her father’s stoic garden gnome on a worldwide vacation and even becoming a mystery woman in the life of an equally sensitive dreamer, the angelic Amélie makes the bliss and happiness of others her new mission in life.

Aside from its consistently upbeat message of love and glee (with a pinch of suspense ala an unknown instant photo booth man mystery!) which is all truly infectious, what most gives Amélie its flight of fancy feel are the visual stylings of Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet.  A maestro of movie storytelling, Jeunet adds his signature style to the films already fanciful premise and it’s a match that feels so very right – his camera moves mirror the fantastical euphoria of his lead character.  A kind of Tim Burton sensibility mixed with the poetic nature of a real-life fairy tale, Amélie is most assuredly Jeunet’s swan song.  A great story enhanced by the right filmmaker.

And while the cast of notable characters that are helped by the selfless Amélie are memorable indeed – from Urbain Cancelier as the stern grocer who needs to be taught a lesson to Jeunet regular Dominique Pinon as a man passionate in both love and war modes – in the end it’s the stunning and inspired turn by Amélie lead herself Audrey Tautou that steals this show.  Playing an optimistic gal with a killer smile and a delightful disposition, Tautou’s work all but invites the viewer along for a boisterous journey that delivers on every cinematic promise – she leads and the audience follows.

While Jeunet had made a few great films before this one (see Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children!) and one dud (DON’T see Alien Resurrection!), nothing quite came up to the brilliant bold level of the outstanding Amélie.  (His later film Micmacs came a close second – watch for that on a future Forgotten Friday Flick!)  A divine mix of everything that can go right in one movie, feeling fine never looked so good.


I'm a passionate and opinionated film critic/movie journalist with over 20 years of experience in writing about film - now exclusively for WhySoBlu.com. Previous sites include nine years at Starpulse.com where I created Forgotten Friday Flick back in 2011, before that as Senior Entertainment Editor for The213.net and 213 Magazine, as well as a staff writer for JoBlo.com. My other love is doing cool events for the regular guy with my company Flicks For Fans alongside my friend, partner and Joblo.com writer James "Jimmy O" Oster. Check us out at www.Facebook.com/FlicksForFans.

2 Responses to “Forgotten Friday Flick – “Amélie””

  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    One of my favs! And Micmacs is great too!

  2. Gerard Iribe

    Jean-Pierre Jeunet can do no wrong, IMO. Yes, even Alien Resurrection is good. 😉