Saturday May 22, 2010 16:53

Movie #0024 – Amelie (2001)

Posted by Michael

Directed by: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Starring: Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Clotilde Mollet
Second Viewing

Synopsis: A quirky young girl in Paris interacts with her quirky friends, her quirky neighbours, and her quirky love interest. Did I mention that the movie is quirky?

This was not a film that I was particularly looking forward to revisiting. Not that I hated it, but it’s just not something that I felt any kind of desire to ever watch again. But hey, it’s been almost ten years, and obviously this movie has its fans (it currently stands at number 44 on the imdb’s top 250). I thought I might be able to appreciate Amelie a bit better this time around. Nope.

Like I said, I don’t hate this movie. I think that probably, as a fifteen or twenty minute short, I’d find it enjoyable enough. It does have its charms, and for a while it’s kind of endearing in an oddball kind of way. But it’s just so consistently, relentlessly hyper-stylized and insufferably quirky — and there’s really not much to it other than its style and its quirk. So if you find yourself ambivalent towards (or downright annoyed by) the film’s in-your-face aesthetic, then you’re really not going to be in for a good time, because the movie revels in its own exaggerated sense of style.

Plus, I just don’t think that Amelie herself is a particularly compelling central character — she is just far too outrageously quirky to ever really relate to on an emotional level. She makes Mr. Bean look like Jimmy Stewart (and at least we’re never supposed to identify with Mr. Bean as anything other than a clown, which isn’t the case with Amelie). She’s surrounded by other characters who are all equally quirky in their own bizarre ways, and certainly, I can see what Jean-Pierre Jeunet was going for here, but it just did not work for me. I found it pretty grating at times.

It occurred to me while I was watching (and not enjoying) this film, that my feelings about it must be how some people feel about The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, which is pretty darn quirky in its own way, but which I think is a masterpiece (yeah, that’s right, I said it — I think it’s Anderson’s best film, and easily one of the best films of the aughts). I’m not sure why I’m okay with Anderson’s hyper-stylized universe, but annoyed by Amelie’s. It’s just a matter of taste, I guess.

Buy the movie at Amazon

1 Response to Movie #0024 – Amelie (2001)



September 24th, 2015 at 10:29 am

They all have something about them, but I love the inrungcoity of Y So Late’,the authenticity of Bishop Patrick’,the Irony of Irn Bru’,the latent menace of the bin carts in Happiness is Free’ and The Red Shoes’,and the red bands in Ostrich (If I don’t look at them they won’t see me either)’, although I’d personally crop her feet and the heads of the folks in the background. Did you adjust the seat colour?and yes Nino’ is intriguing :-)

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