Amelie (2001)

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Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Cast: Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus, Jamél Debbouze, Dominique Pinon, Michel Robin


A girl who has always lived starved of love with her parents conceives the ambition of making others happy and falls in love with a collector of discarded photo booth snaps.

The Review

A French Pollyanna set at the time of Princess Diana's death but filmed in a Montmartre made to look uncannily like a foreign audience's idea of what Montmartre ought to look like (even down to the scenes in the sex shop), this film lacks the gallows humour and cheerful misanthropy of the director's work with Caro. It tries so hard to be cute and technically adroit that it finishes by repeating itself and outstaying its welcome: the meeting of the lovers is endlessly delayed while we witness the heroine's blessed influence on, and in one case nemesis for, the eccentric inhabitants of her street. The feelgood whimsy went down a treat in France, making it one of the commercial successes of its decade, but it boils down to a serendipitous appraisal of the simple things that make life worth living. None of which is to say it doesn't have moments of charm, tenderness or technical brilliance, and it grows on one with repeated viewings.