21st Century: Amelie

Amelie (2001)

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Directed by: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Starring: Audrey Tautou & Mathieu Kassovitz

Moving on to my next entry in this mini series devoted to my favorite films from each year of the 21st century. For 2001 I chose Amelie, a French film that will melt your heart and make you smile for 123 minutes straight.

I’d also like to take the time now to explain something. I will not be writing about the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Those are my favorite films of all time and I just can’t possibly pour my love for them out onto a keyboard. 2001 was the year Fellowship was released and it is undoubtedly my favorite film of that year, but if I go down that rabbit hole you’ll all end up reading three 40 page articles about how much of a nerd I am. With that being said… here’s what I think about Amelie.

Amelie is the story of an introverted French girl who embarks on a simple task to return a keepsake to a complete stranger. The events that follow lead her to meet her true love, dish out some domestic justice and finally open herself up to the world.

Have you ever missed out on a movie? A movie that you’ve heard of and have always wanted to see, but for whatever reason you just never got around to it? Have you ever sat down to finally watch that movie and at the end thought “WHAT THE HELL HAVE I BEEN DOING?!” Yes? Ok well so have I. Several times. Amelie was one of those movies for me. To be fair I was only 9 years old when this came out and a French movie in subtitles about a cute shy girl finding love didn’t really cross my radar. When I finally did get around to seeing this movie about 4 or 5 years ago I was just so giddy. It’s honestly the cutest thing ever made.

This movie is 25% Catch Me If You Can, 25% Magnolia and 50% the most adorable thing in the entire world. Let’s dive in!

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As I was re watching Amelie a lot of things were running through my head. Most of those things were something along the lines of “Oh how cute!” or “Jeez this movie is just so charming.”, but one of the things that popped into my head was how much this movie reminded me of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia. This movie sports a big ensemble cast similar to Magnolia. There are a lot of really interesting and fun characters in Amelie such as Raymond, the grumpy painter with a brittle bone disease who lives in Amelies building. Or Lucien, the mentally challenged boy who sells produce on the street. There’s maybe one or two characters who don’t have a fully realized story, but they all play an integral part in Amelie’s story.

The other aspect of Amelie that reminded me of Magnolia was the narration. Amelie uses a narrator to introduce most of the characters and in those introductions the narrator briefly goes over some quirks and details about the character. These quirks are so particular and very easy to relate to. For instance when Amelie’s mother is introduced, it is explained that she hates wrinkled fingers after a bath and loves to unpack, clean out and refill her purse. It’s such a random and specific bit of information, but it makes that character so much more real.

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The other film this reminded me of was a little film by the name of Catch Me If You Can. I won’t go to deep into this read. It’s very fun that the second half of the movie is essentially just a game of cat and mouse that Amelie plays with Nino.

There’s so many great little performances across the board here so I’m only going to say that Audrey Tautou brought a very unique energy to bringing Amelie to life. Also I have a huge crush on her. How could I not?

There’s a lot of other really fun things that this movie has to offer such as Amelie being a total trickster, the mystery of the photo booth man, the traveling garden gnome and a suicidal goldfish (yea really).

Is it the most adorable movie ever made? Probably. Is it the most charming thing ever caught on camera? I think it might be. Is it the most French thing ever? That heavy accordion soundtrack certainly makes me think so. All in all this is a damn good movie sure to make you giggle and feel good.

Other great films in 2001: Monsters Inc., Rush Hour 2, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and The Royal Tenenbaums

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