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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Audrey Tautou
Mathieu Kassovitz
Rufus Raphael
Dominique Pinon.
Directors
Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
Screenwriters
Guillaume Laurant
Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
Running Time
120 minutes

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Amelie
No place like gnome


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Plot
In the heart of Paris, Amélie brings joy to her friends, secretly sorting out the sad little problems in their lives. But when she discovers a strange photo album belonging to Nino, she realises that she is in love and has problems of her own.


Review
Paris: city of light, city for lovers swept up by the air of romance. It’s the perfect setting for Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s wonderful Amélie, a film with a golden, glowing heart. This massive hit at the French box office is the very dictionary definition of ‘feel-good’ — its irresistible charms will dispel the heaviest clouds hanging over the head of the gloomiest misanthrope.

Freed from the darker imagination of Marc Caro (with whom he collaborated on Delicatessen and The City Of Lost Children) and the restraints Hollywood thrust upon him during Alien Resurrection, Jeunet has created one of the most joyous films of recent years. With its gallery of affectionately drawn grotesques and eccentrics, Amélie is filled with sunshine.

As in Delicatessan, Jeunet’s characters are essentially lonely individuals drawn together by geography; here, however, he brightens their lives with the positive force that is Amélie, adorably played by Audrey Tautou. Jeunet encourages us to share sympathy with these people, as his balanced approach finds humour in their disappointments and a note of sadness in their funny little quirks.

In France, Amélie was attacked for depicting a Montmartre without ethnic diversity. But to criticise this film on racial grounds is like complaining that Beethoven’s 5th Symphony is a bit too loud — it’s just carping for the sake of it. Anyway, the whole film is filtered through the imagination of its central character, a woman who withdrew into her private little world as a child cut off from her peers. This allows Jeunet to pass off some gently bizarre observations as Amélie’s own and to bathe the film in the ‘magic realism’ that had become tarnished by inferior films.


Verdict
One of the year’s best, with crossover potential along the lines of Cyrano De Bergerac and Il Postino. Given its quirky heart, it might well surpass them all.


Reviewed by Alan Morrison


Related Reviews
Books
French Cinema Studies: Amelie
 
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Amelie
 

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Amelie
Empire Star Rating

Utter twaddle

Does a french film exsist that Empire hasn't given 5 stars? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by david hayes at 17:38, 14 May 2013 | Report This Post


The Cutest movie ever made

When I heard about this movie, I did not get many details, I’ve just heard that it was really wonderful, a true masterpiece. And then I thought the movie was some kind of a biography or a beautiful heartwarming story ... after seeing it I can say that is a little bit of everything. In the movie we have the story of Amélie (Audrey Tautou). Since she was a kid, she always liked to help people around her, making them happy. Not doing great things or giving money, but with little thing... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Ralph25 at 18:42, 27 April 2013 | Report This Post


I could watch this film over and over again! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Bubba76 at 10:03, 21 June 2010 | Report This Post


Amelie: A Petite Treat.

Upon watching this film for the first time I could not stop complaining about it, the more I watched it the more it grew on me and now it one of my favorite foreign films. The shots are magnificent and the story is charming and it just works. I think if this film was American it would be ruined, it would have to have more action in it and no subtitles. I love watching a film with subtitles it just gives off a great feeling. An amazing portrayal of what the French can achieve and shows how talen... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by LUCASLITTLEWOOD at 19:50, 19 May 2010 | Report This Post


A truly outstanding example of French cinema at its best!

Amelie is Jean-Pierre Jeunet's masterpiece. It is French cinema at its best. The cinematography is beautiful, the colours are entrancing. This film focuses in on people's lives so closely that attention is drawn to even the smallest details. Jean-Pierre Jeunet introduces each of the main characters by showing their personal likes and dislikes.......and it is almost as though in discovering this we are summoned to appreciate just how important the small things in life are, and how it is the small... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by WhiteRabbit23 at 13:52, 10 August 2009 | Report This Post


A Masterpiece

Beautiful cinematography. Fantastic dialogue. A film any casual viewer can fall in love with. Watch it, I guarantee you will ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by reejctell at 22:07, 16 November 2008 | Report This Post


One of the best films ever made.

One of the best films ever, simply gorgeous, from start to finish. The only bit I don't get is when she collapses into water, but I can't mark it down because I don't get it, others clearly do. This is what got me into foreign cinema, and since I have seen Pan's Labyrinth, Downfall and Lives of Others to name a few. I also have seen all of Jeunet's work, and this is his masterpiece ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by chrysalisloall at 11:06, 01 September 2008 | Report This Post


One of the best foreign films ever made.

Beautiful, funny, charming and heart-warming. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nc_jj at 21:10, 27 March 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Are you fucking serious?

I find it laughable that you bring up Tony Scott when comparing this film. He has never been involved in a film as stunning in its cinematography as this film, I really dont get where you pulled that one from. The cinematography is amzing in this film, but its not its only feature, it is a great film all round. God knows it merits 5 stars more than most films empire gives this rating to! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jascott at 16:19, 13 March 2008 | Report This Post


J'adore Amelie

this is another example why world cinema, especially French cinema is going to produce the more interesting films than Hollywood. only French Cinema can pull off this kind of movie with the fabulous imagary of Paris and the beautiul Audrey Tatau showing why in my opnion she is the French's equivilent of Audrey Hepburn and possibly a better actress than her. This is the perfect introduction into world cinema as its a beautifully made piece Cinema ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Zippy_Albion at 16:56, 05 July 2007 | Report This Post


Are you fucking serious?

This film is terrible, I mean seriously why the hell does the innability to introduce characters with interesting plot devices make you a creative genius. I seriously don't get it, And a keira Knightley esque gurn from Tatou all the way through doesn't add to anything. Infact the one redeeming feature is the stunning cinematography, but if that alone made a good film Tony Scott would win Oscars every year. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by CameronJames at 18:51, 16 December 2006 | Report This Post


World cinema rules Amelie is a prime example for being one of the best superb light fun movie ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by A Man at 18:57, 12 December 2006 | Report This Post


Wonderful film. charm, wit and style without losing substance - highly recommended ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cujo at 13:29, 30 March 2006 | Report This Post


Excellent, heart-warming film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by turnblad at 18:17, 25 March 2006 | Report This Post


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