Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain | Amélie (2001)
One of the sweetest & most adorable films of all time, Amélie is a beautifully crafted tale about the simple things in life that may have more value & meanings than all the other materials in the world and reminds us of the small wonders that abound around us all the time, if only we ever paused to look. A celebration of life from start to finish, Amélie presents its peculiar story with incomparable charm & wonderment to keep its viewers smiling throughout its runtime. And with its insanely original storyline, which is filmed in such an inventive manner that each frame easily qualifies as an aesthetic work of cinematic art & passion, this film also triumphs as arguably the finest effort to come out from French cinema and certainly ranks amongst the greatest films of all time.
Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain, translating to The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain but simply known as Amélie, tells the story of an innocent, young & extremely shy woman whose name you might have guessed by now and who is in her early twenties, had a lonely childhood & works as a waitress at a tiny café in Paris. After making a surprising discovery in her apartment one day & using it for a certain good deed that pays off immensely well, Amélie dedicates herself to helping others find happiness in their lives in the most unexpected but delightful manners while struggling with the isolation of her very own life. The entire film is about Amélie searching for a meaning in her life & finding love in the process plus the visual look of the film also very much signifies the way the world looks from her eyes.
Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who incorporated a chapter of his own life into the film, Amélie is crafted in a manner that completely defies conventions from the very beginning. Throughout its runtime, it ponders on simple things that aren’t very much related to the story but still add a great deal of sweetness into the narrative and this level of unusualness is present in all of its other aspects. The writing is equally good with the best part being the manner in which it commences the movie, introduces every single character, paces the story & keeps connecting with its viewers on a personal level. The cinematography is an absolute wonder & a visual delight that captures Paris in stunning detail & vividness, thanks to its distinct use of colour hues & camera angles. Seamlessly accompanying the story is also Yann Tiersen’s beautiful score that elegantly resonates the joyous, cheerful & pleasant mood of the film and, together with other aspects, transcends its viewers to an entirely different world for 2 hours.
Coming to the performances, Audrey Tautou as Amélie Poulain is adorable beyond belief & effortlessly manages to win hearts with her remarkable performance. Beautifully capturing the innocent, naive & shy nature of her character, it’s virtually impossible to imagine any other actress playing this role because Audrey turned out to be the very definition of Amélie in the film, as if she was born to play her. The immensely cute Flora Guiet also deserves a mention as she was equally amazing in portraying the younger version of Amélie in the film’s opening moments. Most of the other characters in the film are people with whom Amélie interacts on a daily basis and throughout the film, each one of these individuals ends up playing a certain role in influencing Amélie’s life, one way or another, plus the entire supporting cast does an excellent job in representing their idiosyncratic characters on-screen with exuberant energy.
Delivering the goods on all levels with its crafty storytelling, superb acting, wonderful music & clever direction, Amélie is a whimsical journey & a life-altering experience which will leave you smiling in the end with a feeling that you wish you could bottle up & carry with yourself for the rest of your days. I’ve never really been a fan of romantic films but then, this film is much more than just a romantic comedy. It’s a celebration of the selfless good deeds, the joy in little things, the satisfaction one gets in making a person smile and how our actions can inspire & change someone’s life forever. Watching Amélie was one of the most heartwarming & delightful experiences I’ve ever had and this film will always remain special to me. And I hope it turns out to be an equally unforgettable & truly magical experience for you as well. One hundred percent recommended.