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500 Five-Star: Amelie (2001)

July 4, 2011

Someone said to me once that they weren’t a fan of ‘Amelie’, because ‘it’s too aware that it’s good’.  I cannot understand an opinion like that, at all.  I would bloody well hope that any director on making a film believes that it’s good, otherwise what’s the point in making it?  It’s an obvious example, but when Scorcese decided to film the famous tracking shot in ‘Goodfellas’, he wasn’t doing it because that shot was absolutely necessary to the film.  He was showing off, adding a little flair and drama to the proceedings, and there is nothing wrong with that.  Cinema would be pretty boring if everyone produced the same shots and showed no imagination in telling their story.  ‘Amelie’ is very creative and director Jean-Pierre Jeunet revels in that creativity.  He isn’t interested in a straightforward character study…he wants the film itself to be as quirky and magical as its lead character.  Speeded-up bicycle rides through the streets of Montmarte, animated animals, a brief cut-scene referencing Zorro…it’s all part of the fun.  The only thing more joyous than the film itself is Audrey Tatou’s ridiculously amazing depiction of the titular character.  She makes Amelie one of the most memorable characters in cinematic history, and most incredibly she does a lot of the work in silence.  She so often manages to convey exactly what Amelie is thinking or experiencing through wordless stares and gestures, and simply produces one of the best performances you could ever hope to see.

 

Verdict

Every moment is a joy.  Absolutely no doubt about it…

 

*****

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