MOVIE REVIEW

French indie film sparkles with wit and humor

LEADING CHARACTER AMELIE PLAYED by Audrey Tautou takes the audience on a lighthearted journey.

People who have read my reviews and notebook know that I never assess actors’ and actresses’ performances. However, I cannot help but remark on the acting in Amelie—I know a cute girl whose name is Amelie, and I want to tell you her story.

Amelie is a 2001 French romantic comedy movie directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Written by Jeunet and Guillaume Laurant, the film depicts the story of contemporary Parisian life, set in Montmartre.

I should have started by talking about the techniques used in this film, but I can’t; I want to share personal feelings for this film, and I don’t want readers’ interests to be exhausted by the boring and distorted plot description. “Amelie is an innocent and naive girl in Paris with her own sense of justice. She decides to help those around her and discovers love along the way,” is the plot summary on the IMDb website. I, however, will not use any word, like justice or morality, during my review. From my perspective, it is the story of a knight who starts the journey of seeking true happiness by following her heart. The leading character Amelie, played by Audrey Tautou, is just an ordinary, weird girl, who is angry when a fruit shop owner shouts at the dedicated assistant she likes. She feels a sense of achievement when able to recollect a middle-age man’s childhood, and who gains satisfaction when enabling a blind old man to “see” the occupied and noisy streets. It is neither so-called morality nor the sense of justice that drives Amelie to help others, but the simple happiness she acquires when making others’ lives a little bit better. This pushes her to do what she wants, which turns out to be a virtuous circle—the more she helps others, the happier she is. Everyone feels satisfied and joyful when they are able to give others a helping hand. The movie casually, as well as interestingly, displays this beautiful aspect of human nature. The movie is not trying to persuade you; it is just telling a story.

It’s no wonder that Amelie is a really good movie with highlights everywhere. My favorite elements in this movie are the hue of the motion pictures, background music, and the method of narration. This film uses the technique of voice-over to give the audience a stronger sense of narration of life with everything, no matter comedy or tragedy, to be said in the same plain tone. Time flies, while memories fade. No force can stop life from moving forward. A bright color dominates this movie, which exactly demonstrates the naivety and colorful soul of Amelie. Also, the hue of images corresponds to her eccentric imagination of the world. Red and orange are able to stimulate emotions, which facilitate spectators’ immersion into the film. The background music definitely wins over my heart. It so perfectly matches the quick-witted little girl who is always full of various ideas and imaginations. Instruments like harpsichord, banjo, bass guitar, vibraphone, and even a bicycle wheel are all included in the background music, perfectly blending with each other, and creating a French country atmosphere that melts my heart.

The cinematography is worth mentioning as well. Symmetrical configuration, close-ups, and high angle shots are ubiquitous in this film. The frequent use of close-ups offer the audience a chance to really look into the performances of actors and actresses, and deeply feel their moods and minds. Moreover, the use of symmetrical configurations and high angle shots provides the movie with the feeling of whims and unorthodoxy. The great use of lighting also relates scenes in the movie with Amelie’s imagined world.

Elements are so harmonious that this film can be counted as a cohesive masterpiece. There are so many that this film can be counted as a cohesive masterpiece. There are so many other things in this movie that I would like to talk about, but I have to stop now. I want to leave my opinion there, and let you readers discover the wonderfulness of this movie by yourselves.

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