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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 10.82%
Average: 3.46%
Pretty Bad: 1.73%
Total Crap: 5.63%

8 reviews, 183 user ratings

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by Andrew Howe

"One of life's simple pleasures"
5 stars

As we begin our assault on the new millennium, it’s natural that we find ourselves reassessing the human race’s credentials for a continued existence. The six o’clock news tells the story, and in our darkest hours the litany of hatred, intolerance and quiet desperation lends credence to those who argue that the species has outlived its usefulness. The magic is gone, beaten out of us by the one-two punch of adulthood and responsibility, and there are times when we’d trade everything we hold dear for a single reason to believe.

When it becomes too much to bear, Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Guillaume Laurant are here to help. Amélie is a love letter to the broken-hearted and dispossessed, a fable for the faithless, its bittersweet musings underpinned by a genuine affection for everyone who has strayed from the path they once hoped to walk. Jeunet and Laurant are laughing at mankind’s folly, but it’s a fond and knowing smile, and it tells us that no matter where we go, or how far we fall, we will never be entirely alone.

Amélie (Audrey Tautou) lives an unassuming life, with days spent waiting tables and solitary nights passed in a Parisian apartment. An accident of fate leads her to a box containing the boyhood treasures of a previous tenant, and the sight of these long-forgotten artefacts triggers a dormant capacity for altruistic experimentation. She embarks on a quest to restore the memories to their rightful owner, now in his forties, and the success of the undertaking prompts her to spend the rest of the film transforming the lives of people who never knew they needed it, while continuing her own search for love, philosophical enlightenment and the magic which bubbles beneath the surface of the everyday.

The film is populated with unusual characters, each with their own cross to bear, and the filmmakers take their suffering and turn it into something unbearably romantic. While the lion’s share of the running time is devoted to Amélie’s exploits the supporting players loom surprisingly large, for their quirks and universal concerns invite an instant connection with their plight.

Amélie features an exceptional cast, with special mention going to Rufus (whose performance in Train of Life was a highlight) as Amélie’s widowed and housebound father; Mathieu Kassovitz as a sex-shop employee with a penchant for collecting discarded passport photos; Serge Merlin as a reclusive artist whose personal vision has been crushed by the weight of wasted years; and Dominique Pinon in a hugely enjoyable performance as a jilted lover who makes the protagonist of the Police’s Every Breath You Take look like an amateur.

Despite their universally laudable efforts they take a back seat to Tautou, whose confidence belies her relative anonymity. Her expressive eyes and impish smile are endearing, lending credence to her status as a mischievous angel of the dispossessed. Amélie’s pleasure at setting the world to rights contrasts with her own emotional isolation: she’s a wounded healer, leading others to the far side of purgatory but unable to pass through the gates herself, and this prevents her from becoming nothing more than a mildly irritating philanthropist.

Jeunet and Larurant use an omnipotent narrator as their mouthpiece, partnering dispassionate delivery with observations which occasionally border on the poetic, and this device is probably the single greatest contributor to the film’s success. It lends the proceedings an almost mythic quality – it’s as if we’ve been invited to a fireside reading by the Fates, with human frailty and the tangled skein of interwoven destinies at the centre of the discussion.

And you will feel the magic, for every minute of the film is infused with the absolute certainty that strange and wonderful occurrences pass us by without note. It’s an emotional rollercoaster ride, juxtaposing thought-provoking meditations on the simple pleasures of everyday existence with the suffering at the core of the human condition, looping us through the endless cycle of loss and renewal. There’s no assurances of a better tomorrow, but it subscribes to the notion that there is always a reason to go on living, for agents of change can be found in the most innocuous events.

At a time when I desperately needed to be reminded of the worth of the human race, Amélie restored my faith, if only for the briefest of moments. It holds a mirror to us all, refilling our depleted reservoirs of compassion as we walk a mile in each other’s shoes, and if it seems a little fanciful that’s simply because we’re used to filtering our childlike wonder through the eyes of the person that child became.

We’re all in it together, and this is the film that proves it. See it, love it, and let Amélie renew your connection with life’s simple pleasures – when it’s over, you’ll wonder how you lived this long without it.

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originally posted: 12/24/01 15:30:27
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User Comments

12/29/18 Louise (the real one) Can't remember a thing about it. And that's not good. 1 stars
5/22/15 David Hollingsworth Charming, Whisical, and Enchanting 5 stars
6/02/13 lero Classic-and I can't stand romantic comedies 5 stars
11/08/12 deano worth a watch but very overrated, certainly not a masterpiece 3 stars
10/20/12 Roberto Favorite movie hands down!!! Love the music too; ) 5 stars
12/19/09 Derek Annoying, cutesy Pap. Jeunet is pure evil. 1 stars
10/09/09 craig red n green,life affirming beauty 5 stars
7/26/09 Sugarfoot It's a decent movie...but it's not the classic it's been advertised as... 3 stars
5/20/09 kelseey it was confusing, but somhow, i loved it. 5 stars
12/29/08 CTT Infectious, lovely film; very fun 5 stars
6/11/08 HIII *waves* really good. 5 stars
5/07/08 Jackson to that bastard up a bit YOU ARSEHOLE! THIS IS THE BEST FILM EVER 5 stars
2/25/08 SamanthaP such a great and fantastical movie, and very creative, never seen anything like it. 5 stars
12/09/07 SamanthaP it really is magically delicious! 5 stars
7/11/07 Hello Stranger oh i love this. so creative. the music too 5 stars
5/23/07 anonymous doing a movie review for it, the positivity of it all overwhelms me .... 5 stars
4/13/07 Anikka Artsy, different and simply wonderful 5 stars
2/22/07 Sharee My favorite film of all time! 5 stars
9/14/06 Patrick Petty this is one of my faves of all time, great movie!! 5 stars
4/12/06 anthonyuk quirky and fun, a film for dreamers 4 stars
3/12/06 kayla i'm a dreamer. this movie was made for me! 5 stars
2/04/06 ronald self indulgent and overrated.Nice cinematography though 1 stars
1/15/06 ruben fabrigas its about search for genuine love 5 stars
12/11/05 COLLEEN Best Movie Ever!!!!! 5 stars
10/31/05 Indrid Cold A beautiful, vibrant look at life's pleasures, big and small. 5 stars
10/05/05 Jesse Taylor One of the best movies period. An instant masterpiece. 5 stars
8/16/05 ES couldn't make it through, had to abandon shit 1 stars
6/14/05 K. Sear The only heart-warming film that is actually good. 5 stars
6/03/05 Pinkline Jones Pretentious Big Dark Eye Nonsense 3 stars
4/07/05 Thembile I like the movie's sense of re-generating youth 4 stars
3/25/05 Abbi Wonderful film, can watch over and over 5 stars
2/15/05 Reggie Lambert a real work of fart 1 stars
2/14/05 R.W. Welch Off-beat and inventive with outstanding camera work. Sags a bit in the middle. 4 stars
1/01/05 dbx Tries desperately hard to be cute. Nauseating. 1 stars
12/28/04 Karen Leatherland Absolutely fantastic!!!! 5 stars
12/21/04 Abbath Very nostalgic and idealistic look at Paris. Beautiful movie. 5 stars
10/28/04 Daveman More than a little overblown, but it' a very sexy film, with a great lead performance. 4 stars
10/17/04 Debby Hamilton Films' colors are awesome 4 stars
8/30/04 Tam Magical film which re-instilled my faith in humanity (albeit temporarily!) 5 stars
7/22/04 Ted Borrero feel good but with enough depth 4 stars
7/12/04 random* beautiful, whimsical, utterly gloriously enchanting 5 stars
6/11/04 T. Maj Enchanting, dreamlike; a work of art!! 5 stars
5/30/04 sally great heart warming movie 5 stars
4/20/04 Mayu This movie makes me happy! 5 stars
3/26/04 Sarah Wentz Beautifully written and filmed. I love the cinematography! 5 stars
3/19/04 john too weird to be romantic for my taste but hey many people love it! 2 stars
3/17/04 The Talking Elbow If you didn't like this movie, what would you preffer? 'Eraser' with Ahnold? 5 stars
2/24/04 truth a truly great film will always be great and remembered, Amelie has already been forgotten 2 stars
2/24/04 truth flat and uninspired. the film is beautifully shot but wasted the content doesnt deserve it 2 stars
2/13/04 Kai A surprisingly refreshing take on the typical heartwarming tale. An excellent film. 5 stars
1/20/04 Chuckie Atkins Jr. The imagery is great. A beautiful film. 5 stars
11/29/03 john it's cute but a bit erratic 3 stars
11/16/03 Sven Olsen Captivating characters, whimsical humor, love, quirkiness....what more could you want? 5 stars
8/28/03 Nicole Didn't expect to, but I loved it 5 stars
7/23/03 Katya Ms. Tautou is one of the most amazingly charizmatic characters I've had a pleasure to see!! 5 stars
7/22/03 scooby fucking marvelous! 5 stars
7/21/03 Shawn this movie blows more than monica lewinsky 1 stars
7/18/03 Animator dude Awesome 5 stars
6/24/03 candy Magical, Creative, & Quirky-PrepareToBeTransported 5 stars
6/08/03 earl hoffert beautiful 5 stars
5/13/03 scottyrobotty beautiful plot & imagery. you have to be cold and evil to not be charmed by this 5 stars
4/20/03 Dillon Magnificent! I could watch it over and over and over... 5 stars
3/29/03 pinkline jones Arty Farty Overrated Pseudo-emotional drivel 1 stars
3/13/03 Aramazd Ghalamkaryan One of the best ones I've ever seen. Somehow sismilar to Forrest Gump, but much more beauti 5 stars
2/07/03 natasha_theobald as wonderful and unexpected as you have heard 5 stars
1/16/03 John Bale French feel good flick, which will make you smile for days. A must ! 5 stars
1/06/03 Vince yeah, it's good. 5 stars
12/30/02 Tam Sublime and magical, with strong performances. Kassovitz is SEXY! 5 stars
12/26/02 sarah m amazing. 5 stars
12/05/02 Gaiia beautiful it's like watching a fairy tale for grownups 5 stars
11/29/02 Goofy Maxwell French girl is fly! Beautiful like a butterfly, stings like a bee. 5 stars
11/29/02 Phil M. Aficionado Sweet. quirky, funny, and well made with excellent acting and characters. Almost awesome 4 stars
11/21/02 Amelie Richards What do you think?!!??!?! Of COURSE I loved it! 5 stars
11/16/02 Big Ted Sweet, Breezy, and Fun! 4 stars
11/05/02 Michael Buehler Wow. Not at all what I expected. 5 stars
10/31/02 FrankG Who would believe that it's French? 5 stars
9/29/02 Peter Sherlock Gorgeous! Light touch, great message. Try "Swing". 5 stars
9/29/02 Flick Chick hello? was everyone else who saw this passing around a big fat doobie? it SUCKED!! 1 stars
8/26/02 Martin Best movie I've ever had to read 4 stars
8/13/02 Butterbean Colorful production,camera tricks and moments, but the main character became annoying. 3 stars
8/13/02 william miller charming, brilliant masterpiece 5 stars
8/10/02 hum charming fairy tale 5 stars
7/27/02 sdjfsdkjf for once an intelligent french flick with no sleeze. Amen. 5 stars
7/27/02 seldom scene tremendous visuals and story 5 stars
7/26/02 Michael S. Browne Really makes you appreciate the beauty of both life and the art of filmmaking 5 stars
7/24/02 The Bomb 69 brilliant, innovative, captivating, bold, funny, did I miss anything??? 5 stars
7/21/02 spyguy2 Very very good film. First movie in weeks I haven't lost interest in before it was over. 5 stars
7/14/02 Emily Joy Howard Best Movie of all time. Period. 5 stars
7/01/02 Connoisseur krap 2 stars
6/25/02 Alchemist Never felt so good after leaving the cinema 5 stars
5/19/02 Mrs McGregor one of the most beautiful movies of all time 5 stars
4/30/02 OlMan2 Great flick! 5 stars
3/20/02 wintermute made me feel emotion without making me think about myself. great. 4 stars
3/19/02 Noth Philippe 5 stars
3/17/02 Teresa Saw twice. A mystery movie with no murder, just a mystery to solve. A love story. 5 stars
3/07/02 Jack Hunter Loved it, great cast of characters, brav o French moviemakers 5 stars
3/06/02 Liz i watched the film without the help of subtitles but it's so visual u don't even need them 5 stars
3/02/02 Benjamin.Lesbian A delightful ripoff of Emma 5 stars
3/02/02 Unagiboy Cette filme est tres mignone. 5 stars
3/01/02 Mr Black live the cliche of seeing life in a different way after seeing this film 5 stars
2/28/02 Chowie beautiful movie about the simple pleasures in life 5 stars
2/26/02 ownerofdajoint languagebarriertranslationproblemscausesomedifficultybutworththeeffortsomewhatoverratedthoh 4 stars
2/20/02 Xaver I hope that this film wins an Oscar! 5 stars
2/18/02 Thor-Leo A charming, engaging bonbon. A few shamelessly plagiarized ideas, e.g. the gnome. 5 stars
2/17/02 quitjamminme I'm in love with Audrey Tautou!! 5 stars
2/15/02 JB A basic heart felt story uniquely presented. 5 stars
2/14/02 The Flaming Chancehead I WANTED TO CUT AMELIE'S HEAD OFF AND STICK IT ON MY PENIS. 1 stars
2/13/02 Chris In my dreary life, Amelie made me smile again -- tres bon! 5 stars
2/11/02 Moogie X. Fashbaw That was just the coolest movie 5 stars
2/09/02 millarca manson do your heart a favor...see this movie 5 stars
2/05/02 Pierce Lanson All of the below-well, most!! 5 stars
2/04/02 Annette Even though im only 13, i thought the movie was great! Amelie is funny and sweet. 5 stars
2/02/02 kil this is a funny, magical film, and really shows how a romantic comedy should be done. 5 stars
2/01/02 E-Funk So, so, so good...Some of the American filmmakers should take tips from the French. 5 stars
1/30/02 Jimbo Worth seeing but probably goes a little too long though. 4 stars
1/29/02 Mousse Refreshing, incredibly charming. 5 stars
1/29/02 Terrie Smith What a beautiful piece of filmmaking; leave it to the French. 5 stars
1/25/02 tamara i saw it last weekend...and i still can't get it out of my head...i loved it. 5 stars
1/23/02 MadRabbit a colorful, french pastry pathetically smeared onto a Robin Williams movie; cheap devices 3 stars
1/23/02 jennifer awwwwwwwwww!!!!!! LOVED IT!!! so french, so entirely perfect in every way!!! c'etait genial 5 stars
1/22/02 Tam Heartwarming and magical - one of the best films of 2001! I loved the orgasms part! 5 stars
1/22/02 Jake Magical and uplifting. 5 stars
1/21/02 Soap Lando About to commit suicide ? This movie is for you ! Your view of the world will change 5 stars
1/19/02 Rego Allegro Amazing and magic movie - 2 hours of visual pleasure 5 stars
1/19/02 Angelica AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!! and Beautiful!!!!!!! 5 stars
1/19/02 kelly amazing,one of the best movies ever made 5 stars
1/18/02 Lara After seeing it, I couldn't stop smiling for hours 5 stars
1/16/02 Ester Good->Better->Amelie 5 stars
1/14/02 Carly Charming and subtly sexy, one of the best films of the year. 5 stars
1/11/02 Kelly So beautiful I saw it twice..a movie for the romantic in all of us! 5 stars
1/06/02 BEN fabulous movie woudn't be surprised if people went back to see it 2 or 3 times I know I am 5 stars
12/31/01 paul movie of the year... 5 stars
12/29/01 Ashley Fabulous. I'd see it again 5 stars
12/29/01 Owen Best ilm i've seen all year!! 5 stars
12/28/01 ^Elendil^ Wonderfully perceptive in an off-beat sort of way. Enchanting. 5 stars
12/28/01 Vincent Ricci There's no words to say how beautiful this movie is !!! 5 stars
12/27/01 Belinda Forget the HYPE! This is a nothing movie. 1 stars
12/27/01 Izzy audrey tautou's incredible in this film! jean pierre jeunet is great 5 stars
12/26/01 Paco One of the best movies of the year 5 stars
12/26/01 frank one of the greatest film ever made 5 stars
12/26/01 rob a an instant, all-time favorite! brilliant, quick, adorable. 5 stars
12/26/01 Patrick MORNE I am so glad it works out in America! 5 stars
12/25/01 Ricardo Brilliant, filled with witty humor. 5 stars
12/24/01 Shana This was a brilliant, funny, sweet movie 5 stars
12/21/01 Exito Brilliant. 5 stars
12/20/01 BobbyBoo Not only does this movie have a great story it's got some great humour too. Loved it. 5 stars
12/20/01 vulpecula i went to see this movie twice - i loved it even more after the second time. 5 stars
12/18/01 grunter "Out-Meg Ryans" Meg Ryans. Take that you bottle-blonde has-been. 5 stars
12/17/01 Pope ZenMasterFlash I haven't enjoyed a movie so much in a long time! 5 stars
12/17/01 D. Smith fantastik 5 stars
12/15/01 Mr. Henry belle. . . no jolie, jolie, jolie. Tres belle, pas question! 5 stars
12/14/01 Jon Faul Lovely little movie. It was a treat to watch and Amelie herself was perfectly playful 5 stars
12/13/01 Dominik Duprelle A Charming movie. It's creates a fantasy world full of visual gags and ideas. Enjoy it 4 stars
12/12/01 claire That movie cannot be explained, it can only be felt 5 stars
12/11/01 Van Cute 5 stars
12/11/01 viking a movie with heart 5 stars
12/11/01 David The best love chasse-croise ever filmed! 5 stars
12/11/01 sulky Stole my heart completely - Loved the travelling gnome! 5 stars
12/11/01 Anne de Haas The absolute best movie I've seen in years and years. 5 stars
12/09/01 Roxsy truly beautiful cinematography - interesting comment on photography 5 stars
12/08/01 Victoria Davis My new favorite movie 5 stars
12/06/01 matty g. This movie captures a sweetness, and has you leaving the theater feeling whimsical. 5 stars
12/05/01 Robert Wow. A truly amazing film. If you don't like it you have no soul. 5 stars
12/05/01 Raphaela Monribot 1 stars
12/03/01 Colleen Amazing 5 stars
12/02/01 RocketBoy AMAZING! Incredible cinematography, too. 5 stars
12/02/01 Brandon Flynn My rating says it all... 5 stars
12/02/01 Suzz Interminable: brought to you by the folk who think Jerry Lewis epitomizes comedy. 3 stars
12/02/01 zeitgeist beautiful cinematography 5 stars
12/02/01 posono billis surprisingly even a notch above delicatessen 5 stars
12/01/01 Freddy Totally Enjoyable - Left With A Smile On My Face, Love That Audrey Tautou !! 5 stars
11/30/01 anne This is such a great movie! I really loved it! 5 stars
11/30/01 *NiCkLeS*'s warm and fuzzy with a deeper Baptist church choir singing... 5 stars
11/29/01 bilbo-le-hobbit Six month later, still as magical... 5 stars
11/29/01 geesh Best film I've seen in years. Funny and lighthearted without being inane. 5 stars
11/28/01 Michaël Feel bad ? Go and watch this movie. You'll get out with a big smile on your face ! 5 stars
11/26/01 jed stunningly beatiful 5 stars
11/22/01 Monster W. Kung Enjoyable, but totally overrated. Not much more than light-hearted fun, really. 3 stars
11/21/01 WMunny IMPRESIONANTE 5 stars
11/03/01 Lucy Swan It really is everything you've been led to believe-long live Jeunet! 5 stars
11/01/01 Alison Brilliant, charming, beautiful, lovingly crafted. A fine piece of cinema 5 stars
10/29/01 Heather This is one of the best movies I have seen this year. 5 stars
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  09-Nov-2001 (R)



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