My questions in bold. Mark′s answers
Thanks, Mark! My review is below!
Right from the titles you can tell it “Amélie” will be quirky, stylistic film. And it certainly is.
Growing up, Amélie’s uptight parents cause her to lead an isolated, yet imaginative life. When she’s of age to live on her own, she discovers a cigar box of children’s toys and photographs hidden behind the floorboard of her apartment. Determined to track down its owner and return the box, she inquires of her neighbors about who used to live there. She eventually succeeds in returning the toys, and the reaction the man has to them is more than she could have imagined.
Which leads her to become addicted to helping people.
Now that she knows her neighbors, Amélie begins secretly kibitzing in their lives. She subtley plays matchmaker for a couple. She pranks an abusive boss. She sends a grieving widow a love letter. She sends a series of bizarre but wonderful events on video tape to a shut in. In the lives of nearly everyone around her, she finds some way to secretly try to bring joy or justice.
But what will happen when she has the opportunity to improve her own life? When sparks fly between Amélie and a stranger she meets in the subway, will she be brave enough to set up a romance for herself?
Audrey Tautou is fantastic and charming as the whimsical Amélie. I can see why such a fuss was made over performance here. She perfectly plays a shy, yet sprightly young woman who has no hesitation helping others, but who freezes up when its time to take a leap into romance herself. She’s gorgeous and charming and winds up drawing you in to the movie… you’ll find her irresistible and will want to root for her character.
The style and direction of the film are almost a character unto themselves. Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet creates an idiosyncratic film here, one with a look and feel all its own. At times, he’ll fill the screen with an abundance of a single primary color. He always keeps the framing interesting and alive, as if it were dancing. But the primary element in the charm of the film are all the oddities he scatters about. Things like talking photographs, or a winking statue, or people who pop up from behind sewer grates to advise Amélie. It’s a sublimely surrealistic style that makes an undeniable contribution to the sweet, whimsical tone of the film.
“Amélie” is a fun, sweet film that features inventive direction and a unforgetably charming lead performance. It’s a movie that will warm hearts and bring smiles to faces, I can see why it’s spoken of so highly. Thanks to Mark for a great recommendation!