(Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain)

foreign films

Amelie (Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain)
Made in: France
Language: French
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Starring: Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Serge Merlin, Clotilde Mollet, Jamel Debbouze, Yolande Moreau
Year: 2001

Synopsis: Audrey Tautou, in the role that made her one of the most sought-after young actresses in the world, plays the eccentric title character. After being raised by an intelligent but distant father and a neurotic mother, Amelie develops into a shy, quirky, but bright young woman who can't help but notice all the little oddities in everyday life.

When she accidentally finds a child's time capsule that's been hidden in her apartment for over forty years, Amelie resolves to secretly track down its owner. After she accomplishes this small gesture of kindness, our heroine finds herself on a series of offbeat, humorous adventures that touch the lives of not only those whom she interacts with regularly, but complete strangers as well.

Mainly a hidden observer (and instigator) of elaborate and hidden acts of kindness, she finds that she herself is in need of close relationships. But her creative antics take a romantic turn when, by chance, she comes across Nino Quincampoix (Mattieu Kassovitz), a lonely young man who's just as eccentric as she is.

Remarks: Although the setting is modern day Paris, the movie has a fairy-tale feel that serves well to represent the way in which Amelie perceives her immediate surroundings.

The large-eyed Audrey Tautou gives a solid, nuanced performance and creates a very charming protagonist whose loneliness, ironically enough, will make just about everyone identify with her.

Nominated for five Academy Awards and having won a series of international prizes, this is definitely one of those foreigh films with universal appeal. Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, famous for helming cinematic wonders Delicatessen and City of Lost Children, again delivers a visually creative, humorous, and sensitive film.

Although very sophisticated in its presentation, Jeunet's piece never gets lost in its own beauty. Every plot twist and crafted visual is tailored to mean something and Jeunet, in all of his efforts, is not showing off.

Instead of trying to dazzle, he wants to communicate with his audience. And as a result, he succeeds in creating an intimate experience.

With a strong, fun cast of original characters and an engrossing story, the greatest part about Amelie, despite its worldwide commercial success, is that you'll feel this foreign film was made just for you.

Who would like this movie: This is a great example as to why everyone should keep an open mind when it comes to foreign films. This one's up your alley if you're the sort of person who takes the time to appreciate simple pleasures, because this movie will definitely inspire you to take a closer look at the world around you.

(3 1/2 stars out of 4)

Review written by: Joe Yang

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