Amelie (2001)

In this French comedy, we meet Amelie (Audrey Toutou), a reclusive beautiful young girl who relies on her imagination to take her into her own magical worlds. When she discovers an old tin case in her wall containing relics of the past belonging to someone, she decides to make herself a deal: she finds the owner, if they are happy with discovering the relics, she will do nothing but good deeds from now on, if they aren’t happy, she will return to her reclusive life. Well, the owner loves the relics, and now decides to take her screwy life filled with screwball characters and do good deeds for them. This movie garnered tons of Oscar nods when it appeared on the scene, so when it came on, I was more than anxious to check it out.

I’ll admit I was weary at the beginning, because I didn’t think a French movie with subtitles would be any good. I decided to give it a chance, and the result was a big surprise that knocked me for a loop. I’m so surprised at how visually stunning this movie is. The entire movie bases itself on symbolism with tons of incredible and odd images that we’re shown. The movie uses special-effects creatively, which is rare in American movies. Audrey Toutou is incredible as the impish wide-eyed Amelie who gives us a peek into imagination while stunning us time after time. The movie’s best scene is where Amelie is attempting to confront the man she’s in love with, when she fails to go through with it, she melts into water, symbolizing her disappointment. I was so amazed at the array of dazzling effects that this movie uses.

The movie also gives us a vast array of oddball characters, like an obsessed boyfriend who monitors his girlfriend by recording everything she says, and an old man who paints the same picture every year as a ritual. I love the plot and how this closely resembled “Emma” but better. We get a vast insight into the world of love and wonder as this girl makes her own fun, and makes her own world within her mind. I loved it, and suggest everyone watch it.  Unfortunately, the movie is so odd, that some people may just shrug and turn it off half way. It’s not surprising being a French movie an all. Many people won’t watch this because it’s not mainstream, but for those who do are in for something good. This is a great foreign comedy and is much better than any other comedy you’ll find in America.