Reader’s Recommendations: “Amélie”

amelie_ver1Hey everyone, it’s Friday, time for another entry in the Reader Recommendations series!

The Reader Recommendation series is intended to help me formally pursue all the great films that commenters bring up each week in discussion which I’ve never seen. If there’s a movie that comes up that I haven’t seen, but you think I should, email me @ fogsmoviereviews@gmail.comor let me know in the comments that you’d like to
participate!
 
Mark WalkerThis time up, our movie recommendation comes from Mark Walker of Marked Movies, who has suggested “Amélie”.
 
I’ve heard great things, but I’ve never actually seen this movie. I trust Mark’s opinion, though, he has great taste in movies. So I’m more than willing to check this one out!
 
Click through to see what we had to say!

My questions in bold. Mark′s answers
below.

 
1) Do you remember when you first saw the movie?
 
I remember going to the cinema with my dad to see Amelie when I was about 23. He had just lost his partner to a sudden illness and he was at a loose end. By trying to take his mind of things we’d visit the cinema regularly and this was turned out to be the perfect choice for that time.
 
2) Why do you think that it’s recommendable? What do you like about it?
 
I find it to be one of the most creative and uplifting cinematic experiences you can get. I’m a big fan of French movies and Amelie epitomizes their fresh and original approach to filmmaking.
 
3) Is the movie underappreciated, do you think? Or does pop culture have it fairly rated?
 
I don’t think it is under appreciated. Anyone that has seen it always speaks highly of it and it was, at one time, the biggest box office hit that France had ever produced. It may still be the highest grossing film from that country and it also received 5 Oscar nominations which isn’t too shabby.
 
4) Is there any particular reason you thought I should watch it, or were you just surprised I hadn’t seen it?
 
Personally, I think everyone should treat themselves to this film. It’s not surprising that some haven’t got around to it yet as foreign cinema can sometimes take a while to reach people. I recommended it purely to hear your opinion of it.
5) Have you written about the movie yourself? (Insert plug here! LOL )
 
Yes, I have. It’s one of my favourite films and here’s my short review…
 

http://mrmarakai.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/amelie/

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!

A++

Daniel Fogarty

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67 thoughts on “Reader’s Recommendations: “Amélie”

    • Yeah, I think A++ is high enough, right? A+++ is probably overdoing it, I don’t want to get carried away. Lol ;)

      Great flick, Mark. Rock solid recommendation. Gonna have to grab a copy of that on Blu, soon!

      • A++ is good enough for me, man. It’s great to hear you enjoyed it. In all honesty, I defy anyone NOT to enjoy it. I remember when we spoke a while back about personal top ten lists and you said you hadn’t seen this yet. It’s been in my ten list since the first moment I seen and always wanted to head your take on it. Now I’m satisfied. My job here is done. LOL.
        Can’t wait to hear your opinion on my other recommendation now. ;-)

  1. This may be the first ephiany of the great French film renaissance that has has been going on in the last decade and has revitalized the current foreign film industry. It is such a brilliant watershed movie!

  2. Simply amazing film. Jeunet artistic style is like watching a Rube Goldberg machine in action. A toy man kicks a ball bearing that runs down a ramp into the dominoes that hit the heroine in the head that causes her to fall in love. You can’t take your eyes off the screen. All the roles are filled with such “characters”, like walk-ins off the street, it makes the film very Fellini-esque.
    This is really light-hearted considering how serious his early works are including the great “City of Lost Children”. I’m really glad Mark turned you on to this. I didn’t know he was a Francophile. Vive la Cinema!

    • The only other movie of Jeunet’s I’ve seen is “Alien Resurrection”, which I’m not not a fan of. The sensibilities he expresses here are a complete anathema to the world of “Alien” and the resulting movie is a mess, to me. My least favorite movie in the franchise. I’d rather watch 3.

      Here though, it’s perfect. Joyful, nutty, I really enjoyed it very much.

      • Since I’ve started I may as well recommend “Delicatessen” as Fogs. This was Jeunet’s debut I believe which he co-directed with Marc Caro. It has similar elements to Amelie but a lot darker. Another French classic.

      • Yeah, I hated “…Resurrection” too. But he is regarded as that kind of director. They offered him “Hellboy” before Del Toro. The most like “Amelie” is Jeunet’s “MicMacs”. Great weird fun!

      • But Alien:Resurrection is INCREDIBLE. Imaginative, whimsical, twisted. Stylistically, it is at odds with the earlier films, but I would argue that the best sequels are always the ones that stake out thier own territory and don’t try to recapture the “magic” of the original film(s).
        I really hated Alien 3. I wish that Aliens had led directly into A:R. If it had, the Alien franchise would have been one of the most consistently amazing film series of all time. And that is including Prometheus. It gets a lot of hate, but as long as you view it as a monster movie and nothing else, it expands the Alien universe in fun and unexpected ways.

      • Nah. You said it yourself… it’s stylistically at odds. To an injurious extent. I’m a real hater of that chapter, mainly for that reason (though not for that reason alone).

        3 was rough, too, dont get me wrong, I’m not a fan of that one much, either. But I do prefer it to 4.

    • I am indeed a Francophile Ray. I love the artistry of the French. However, I’ve yet see to some of their classics of cinema. It’s more contemporary stuff I’m aware of.

  3. Yes, this movie was a delight from beginning to end, the kind you watch with almost a continual smile on your face. I remember loving it but not so many of the particulars so thanks Mark for the recky and thanks Fogs for the reminder it is time for me to put it in the queue to enjoy it again soon!

    • Yeah, totally. I think this one would be one that would stand up to multiple viewings easily. It’s so fun. Plus, there’s so much crazy stuff going on that you’re bound to pick up on new stuff everytime you watch it, you know? ;)

      • It definitely does hold up. I also have the soundtrack by Yann Tiersen which I play on a regular basis. The music is outstanding as well.

      • Yeah definitely. And now I recall it sort of restored my faith in foreign/indie movies, which for a time it felt to me like they thought they did their job if they got one well-delivered quirky idea across and then didn’t need much of an ending. This one just made me think the Americans really need to learn from this one about telling a pleasing yarn from this filmmaker. I’m glad it was so successful to boot

    • Glad to hear you’re also a fan. It’s such a delight. Like you say, it’s the type if film where your face goes into a cramp, cause your smiling that much. ;-)

      • It’s very true. And so often films that make you feel happy aren’t given the credit for excellence they deserve. It’s like the old Shakespearean actor adage, “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.”

  4. After hearing all this praise, I can’t for the life of me remember why I couldn’t finish it. I know I was reluctant to watch it, because it had actually been overmarketed in this area (high quotient of French Canadians means that if a french language movie succeeds as a cross-over hit, I hear too much about it).

    We rented it when it came out on video because, if I remember correctly, Mel wanted to see what the fuss was about. I know we shut it off… but I can’t remember if we were bored, or had to leave, or what.

    Add another one to the “Revisit it Someday…” pile.

    • Yeah, man, you should. It’s lighthearted and fun. Very very unique feeling. I liked it quite a bit.

      I’m not gonna lie, I was in no rush to watch it, either. That poster’s not doing it any justice… just that impish looking face? You know? The name’s not selling me anything either…

      Glad I pushed through though, this one was a winner. :D

  5. Wonderful review! You’re right, she does kind of look a little creepy in that poster, not very helpful at all. I still have to see this one; I’ve been hearing nothing but good things about it for awhile. Putting it on my list!

  6. Loved this film. The year it came out I had it on my “Best Of” list. There is an art house theater in Rochester called “The Little” that has been in operation since 1929 and if it wasn’t for that, there would be a lot of great films going unseen. Glad to have this in my collection and equally glad you loved it.

    • Yeah, Chris talks about that place a lot.

      I can easily see this one making a top ten list… Hell, if it were a new release this year I’d be pencilling it in on my top ten candidates list right now! :D

  7. Oh wow, hard to believe you hadn’t seen this yet, man. This is a great flick indeed, one of the favorites around here. My girlfriend even dressed up as Amelie for Halloween last year. It went well with my Breaking Bad character. :D

    • It’s all about the haircut, right? LOL (The Amelie costume…)

      Yeah, I’m not big on foreign films, so anything not American, there’s probably a decent chance I havent seen it. They have to get an enormous buzz going for me to check them out. Too many flicks right here to keep up with!!

  8. What a terrific movie this is. When it first came out in France, it inspired people to start doing nice little anonymous things for others. I don’t think “Bullet to the Head” accomplished that, but I could be wrong.
    Jeunet can genuinely be called a genius. My first exposure to his work was City of Lost Children, and I have been devoted fan ever since. Delicatessen is my favorite black comedy, and I have seen Amalie many times, along with its follow-up, A Very Long Engagement (which is similar in terms of atmosphere, but much more serious). You can see little influences creep into this director’s films (Burton, Gilliam, the Coens), but his style is entirely his own.

    • LOL. I dont know how Bullet to the Head plays in, but you’re right. :D It sure didnt.

      I’m really not that familiar with his works, as I mentioned, I’ve only seen Alien Resurrection, but I’ll keep an eye out now if any cross my path!

      • Don’t just wait for them to cross your path; actively seek them out. He hasn’t directed many movies, so watching them all is an easy task.
        “Delicatessen” is set in a post-apocalyptic future where some people have turned to cannibalism; a circus clown takes a job at a resteraunt in a tenement building, unaware that he is (dramatic pause) next on the menu. The movie also has a rather sweet and charming romantic subplot.
        “City of Lost Children” is my favorite film of this director’s; it’s one of the most original fantasies ever made. “A Very Long Engagement” is probably his most accomplished film. Truly moving. The only film of Jeunet’s that I’m not crazy about is “Micmacs,” which labors to hard to be “quirky.”

      • “He hasn’t directed many movies, so watching them all is an easy task.”

        Unless you run a movie blog where you’re already committed to watching ten or so movies a week… :/

        If you’d like to recommend one of his films yourself, officially, PDB, that’s cool, I’ll put it in the queue and send you an email at the address you use for your comments. Would you like to do that?

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