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Review of the Films: Amelie

Updated on December 5, 2012


Amelie or The Fabulous Destiny of Amelie Poulain is a French romantic comedy that was released in the early 2000s. Amelie a young woman living in Paris has decided to be a good do-er and spends her free time helping random people by doing good deeds for them.

It's the plot premise for the film that makes it one of the more unique movies you can watch. The visual aspects of the film, the humor, and genuine empathy for the main protagonist have had people rightfully calling this film one of the best of the decade.

Grade A+ 10/10

Cast of Amelie

Amelie Poulain
Audrey Tautou
André Dussollier
Nino Quincampoix
Mathieu Kassovitz
Raphaël Poulain
Raymond Dufayel
Serge Merlin
Amandine Poulain
Lorella Cravotta

Amelie Plot Summary

The film begins by giving us some background information about the title character. Amelie Poulain had lonely upbringing, being home schooled and never having a close relationship with either of her parents. She develops an active imagination as a result of being lonely, and has a difficult time forming romantic relationships. Her lack of contact with the outside world has also made her very shy.

The film moves to the present where Amelie lives in Paris and works for a small cafe. One night she discovers a time capsule hidden behind a loose tile in her bathroom. It contains a small collection of toys belonging to a boy that used to live there over 40 years ago. Amelie decides to bring this collection of toys back to its owner, and if the end result of bringing these toys back yields a positive result, she will resolve to become a good do-er for people in the world. Once she cleverly gives the time capsule back to the now middle aged owner, without revealing her identity, and she sees the epiphany it causes the man to have, she decides to fulfill her promise.

Amelie moves throughout the movie helping others find happiness, but due to her shyness she has a difficult time finding happiness for herself.


Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Jean-Marc Deschamps, Claudie Ossard
Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Guillaume Laurant
Yann Tiersen
Bruno Delbonnel

Compelling Qualities of Amelie

One of the most intriguing parts about this film is the way it is visually laid out. It incorporates a lot of elements of magical realism and surrealism which is something that is very difficult to do effectively in film. The red color scheme of Amelie's room and how it matches the objects in her room and the way she dresses is one example of how the film makes a powerful visual impression on the viewer. The wide variety of objects that are in her home help to further establish a surreal quality to the visuals.

The humor of the film is also very subtle. The narrator introduces most characters by telling viewers a little bit of background information about what the character does for a living and where they might be living and then launches into a list of the characters likes and dislikes, which are often bizarre and humorous. The scenes where Amelie tries to get her father to travel by stealing his garden gnome, and having her stewardess friend take pictures of it at famous global landmarks is also very funny.

Audrey Tautou's performance as Amelie is extraordinary, this will be a role associated with her for the rest of her life. Her facial expressions and soft speaking demeanor capture Amelie's shyness perfectly. Tautou makes it so easy to identify with the main character that it's almost as surreal as the film itself

Amelie's Room

Amelie is Recommended For...

The film's thematic ideas feature a lot of inspiring moments dedicated to living your life, and it can be very uplifting. Amelie's helpful friendly nature towards everyone else creates some powerful emotional moments, while she simultaneously struggles to figure out aspects of her own life.

There isn't an issues with, or a serious criticism section for this review simply because there isn't anything major to criticize. If there is a dislike to this film its purely due to a disagreement with the aesthetic choices made by the filmmakers, rather than crappy film-making.

Amelie is an art film. It's comedic aspects are subtle but effective, and its visuals are very impressive. If you like romantic comedies or if you are into independent or art films this would be a good film to watch. It is in French so you will have to read subtitles, but don't let that stop you from seeing one of the best Romantic Comedies put on film.

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