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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Amelie (2001)



Reviews and Comments

If you were to ask me why I love movies, Amelie might be my answer. Jean-Pierre Jeunet's uncharacteristically upbeat comedy is such a delight, I can't help but smile when I think of it. It's funny, vibrant, and visually spectacular; and above all it has this uncanny ability to turn the most ordinary details of life into intriguing mysteries. The main character, Amelie Poulain, is at once sympathetic; maybe part of it is the way she can convey naivety and impishness in the same grin.

The story interlocks and weaves back on itself in many unexpected ways. The narrative challenge alone is an accomplishment to admire, but what inspired me more is the film's unbounded creativity. Basically, the story is about how Amelie discovers that her calling in life is to help other people. But what fun could helping others be if it's done conventionally? To amuse herself, she sets about her tasks in the most deliriously convoluted ways imaginable. By the time we figure out what one scheme is all about -- our realizations probably accompanied with the kind of laughter that responds to admiration in addition to humor -- she has already embarked on another and has more in mind. But...can she help herself?