There is something hiding just behind the smile of “Amelie’s” Audrey Tautou. It is, maybe, a secret she is thinking of telling. Or, perhaps a thought she has had which she will keep to herself for her own enjoyment. Whatever it is, there is something in that smile that is just beyond our reach. We see it, can almost touch it, as one part mischief, one part sensuality and one part fantastic possibility. Behind the smile lies a story that unfolds over the course of her young life, including the very moment that changes it forever. And in the end, through masterful direction and an inventive style, the story of “Amelie” becomes the story of us all.
The crux of the film lies in the telling of unique details— those tiny effects that converge to create the human experience; the little pleasures that make everyday life not just bearable, but rather enjoyable. And for Amelie, a simple thing like dipping her hand into a sack of grain at the market is a pure delight. The film is full of these kinds of gems, too numerous to mention here, from every character featured. Every character’s story is presented in a such a style that they jump off the screen and into life with something like the essence of joy… or rather, the discovery of it.
After the death of Princess Diana Amelie vows to perform random acts of kindness in her own fantastical kind of way, which makes for an eccentric and ultimately tender movie. The karma she creates through her charity comes back to her in the form of true love, which has seemed to have evaded her adult life, and the moment in the film where this happens for her is the same moment it happens for the audience.
Watching this movie on DVD is an absolute pleasure. It is shot with such a clarity of color, to view it at home any other way would be an injustice. And by watching “The Look of Amelie,” one of several features in this double-disc package, one comes to understand how the photography itself propels the story. You will also get to hear from the director himself, Jean-Pierre Jeunet (director of “Alien: Resurrection”) on how the film evolved from conception to production. Also offered in the package are both Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and Widescreen format, which only adds to the experience.
In short, there truly is only one word to accurately describe the excellence of this movie. It has been exhausted in plenty of other reviews before this one but really is the only one that fits: “Amelie” is magical. This is a wryly original comedy, with its own sense of mischief and mystery, unmistakable style and charm, and should grace any discerning DVD library.
this is a review that appeared on a website that is now defunct.