Amélie-World Cinema Series-France

I love quirky characters and I love foreign films.  The French film Amélie, released in 2001, was perfect for me.  The French title is Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain (The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain).  The film is directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet.  Jeunet and Guillaume Laurant wrote the script and it depicts life in contemporary Paris.  Amélie Poulain (Audrey Tautou) is an odd woman.  She is shy and doesn’t have many friends.  Even as a child she didn’t have any playmates.  After her mother’s death her father withdraws from society and from her.  Her loneliness fosters a delightful imagination.  When she moves away from her father she becomes a waitress at Café des 2 Moulins, which is located in Montmartre.

Amélie has never been successful in love.  One day she discovers a box of childhood memorabilia in her apartment.  This changes her life.  Amélie decides to hunt down the owner of the box to return the hidden treasures.  If the man is happy about getting his stuff back she will continue to bring cheerfulness into people’s lives.  During her quest she meets her neighbor, Raymond Dufayel (Serge Merlin) who never leaves his apartment.  He is a painter who keeps repainting Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party.  Her search for the man who lost his memorabilia and her relationship with her neighbor drastically changes her life.

The movie is a romantic tale that involves a wonderful cast of nutters.  The writing is fantastic.  I marveled how they were able to connect so many crazy characters into a seamless story.  These types of movies remind me why I love movies.  If you enjoy romantic comedies, this is a must-see film.  It was nominated for five Academy Awards.  It won Best Film at the European Film Awards.  Moreover, it captured four César Awards and two BAFTA Awards.

This review is part of my journey to see films from each country around the world.  The World Cinema Series is hosted by Caroline.  If you would like to join in on the fun, please visit her site.  Also, Words and Peace hosts an I Love France meme everything Thursday and you can post anything that has to do with France.

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American living in England. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs, or reading. Not necessarily in that order.
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57 Responses to Amélie-World Cinema Series-France

  1. T.F.Walsh says:

    Amelie is one of my all time favourite movies…:)

  2. IsobelandCat says:

    I am guessing you have joined BFI on the South Bank? If not, find out about it now and you’re quest to see foreign films will be much easier. In the autumn, the LFF will have all the new films from everywhere too.

    • TBM says:

      We haven’t joined yet, but we went there last year to watch a Russian film. I picked up a brochure about membership but I forgot about it. I should sign up. Are you a member? Do you like foreign films? And most importantly, I hope you are feeling better 🙂

      • IsobelandCat says:

        I used to be a member and practically lived there. The LFF was the high point of my winter. Then life got I the way, less time etc, and now I rarely go to he cinema. I used to make a point of seeing French films. I saw the original Pagnol Manon des Sources there. Heaps better than the remake.

      • TBM says:

        For me life gets in the way and movies keep getting more expensive. Maybe being a member would help with that part. I’ll add that movie to my list. I find that the original is almost always better than the remake. I don’t understand why we need so many remakes of movies instead of fresh stories.

      • IsobelandCat says:

        And there’s no popcorn!

  3. Caroline says:

    I absolutely loved this when it came out and even bought the CD which is wonderful. It’s funny, romantic a bit crazy and simply charming.
    Meanwhile I’m allergic to Audrey Tautou because she is in every movie that they want to sell internationally as “Typically French”. I like many of the newer French actresses much better but at the time when she did this and A Very Long Engagament, right after this, I liked her very much.

    • TBM says:

      For some reason, I just can’t place her in other movies. I’ll have to do a search and see if I’ve seen her in other flicks. Any suggestions for other French films?

      • Caroline says:

        Since I’m French my answer could easily contain two-three or more pages full of suggestions.:)
        I would need to know what you like. There are tons of great movies.
        Some of my personal recent favourites are
        “La vie en Rose” – on the life of Edith Piaf
        “Don’t Worry, I’m Fine”
        “Coco Chanel”
        “The Army of Crime” is one of the best WWII I have ever seen.
        You might alos like “Female Agents”
        If you like period films Henry 4 is stunning and so was The Princess of Montpensier.
        Older movies. One nobody ! should miss
        Children of Paradise.

      • TBM says:

        My apologies. I always associate you with Switzerland. I’ll add these to my list and I love period films. I’ve enjoyed the two you already suggested: Young Victoria and Desperate Romantics. My favorite types of movies are the ones like Amelie or Pulp Fiction, different stories that are quirky and somehow all end up relating to each other. I like movies based on true events or people and I enjoy movies like Inception that make me think. But I don’t like movies like Syrianna that are just too darn confusing and don’t make a lot of sense even when it is over. Oh I’m also a fan of spy movies. I don’t think I’ve really narrowed down the genres. Pretty much, if the movie is well done, I’ll like it. Including documentaries.

      • Caroline says:

        There is no reason for apologizing.
        I live in Switzerland, it’s quite natural you thougth that. I’m half Fench-half Italian. I used to live in Paris but was born in Switzerkand and returned to live there again.
        In any case I grew up with three cultures. German-French-Italian. A mini-bio. 🙂 I know movies of all three.
        And British too by now.
        I will think about other movies.

      • TBM says:

        Cool! You haven’t led me astray yet 🙂 Thanks for the help!

  4. zelmare says:

    I loved this movie! I cannot remember the details, but I thought to myself the other day when we went to see a Nouveau movie that I really would like to see Amelie again. The movie we saw that day, is also highly recommended (by me!) if you like slightly quirky (nouveau) movies. It is called the The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. I would love to know what you think of it, if you ever get to see it. 🙂

    • TBM says:

      I’ll add it to my list. I saw that it was in the theaters not to long ago but I never got around to watching it. I’ll add it to my rental list. Thanks!

  5. Colline says:

    I loved watching this movie – and would rewatch it with pleasure

  6. Novroz says:

    Great review TBM 🙂
    I have seen this movie years ago. I quite like it. It’s unusual and fun

    • TBM says:

      I love that it is unusual. I am getting so tired of all of the American remakes. Can’t they come up with something different.

  7. Meghna N says:

    What a review! The whole movie played in front of my eyes, thanks to you.
    I LOVE this movie. I’ve seen it numerous times and can still watch it again. It never fails to excite me. And the impeccable actors only add to the fun.
    If you love watching foreign flicks (like me), check out some Persian movies (especially by Majid Majidi), some of them are really good. I’d recommend ‘Baran’, ‘The Song of Sparrows’, ‘Children of Heaven’ and ‘The Apple’. ‘The Apple’ is not by Majid Majidi but the rest of them are.
    Wow! Did I just recommend four movies? Please, excuse me! 🙂

    • TBM says:

      Wow thanks for all of the recommendations. I’ve added all of them to my rental list. Some are not available yet but it looks like they may be in soon. I love foreign films. My mom introduced me to them at a young age and ever since then I’ve been hooked.

      • Meghna N says:

        You’re welcome! I hope you like them.
        Well, I find the language(s) really fascinating and I used to watch the movies for my love of foreign languages. But now, I just can’t seem to get enough of both, the cinema and the language.

  8. Grace says:

    I love this movie, even though Amelie is a bit scary looking. 🙂

    • TBM says:

      LOL…It is a good film. And I need to read about your book expo experiences. It has been a crazy week. I hope to enjoy them this weekend. I’m really curious about it after going to the London one.

  9. Carl V. says:

    If you set aside the films that charted the course of my young life (original Star Wars trilogy) and Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Lord of the Rings movies, I would be hard pressed to think of any film I love more than Amelie. I became a fan of Jean-Pierre Jeunet earlier through his more dark, quirky films with Marc Caro and when Amelie hit theaters I was primed to see it. I remember so clearly feeling this incredible warm glow all over me as the credits roll and it is the first time I remember describing a film experience as “bliss”. The word just rolled off my tongue, I couldn’t think of any other way to describe the way I felt. It was like the best high in the world. So incredible. Needless to say I fell madly in love with actress Audrey Tautou and have enjoyed many of her other films since discovering her in this. I didn’t find her ‘scary looking’ in this (LOL, Grace). She is actually quite adorable in the film.

    This film has everything, from a very quirky cast of characters to beautiful settings to just the right amount of fantasy and whimsy. I remember reading about how Juenet collected all these bits and pieces of real experiences in his life that he put together into this film. He also did a lot of post-production work to eliminate graffiti, trash from the streets, etc. in order to present an idealized view of Paris that would be a visual representation of the way Paris should make a person feel. Such a great love-letter to the city. Other than having to account for the few very “adult” parts of the movie, this is one I wish everyone I know could see and I’ve recommended it to many. You make me want to fake an illness here at work and rush home to watch it all over again. What a delight.

    Of course I cannot get away without recommending other films, including Delicatessen and City of Lost Children by Jeunet and Caro. Both are darker and weirder but both have very sweet undertones. The Price, which stars Tautou, is a nice film too as is A Very Long Engagement (sad but beautiful at the same time). And a film that I feel has its own quirkiness, though different, that you should add to your list is Chung King Express.

    • TBM says:

      I was in Paris a couple of weeks ago and I was blown away by the amount of trash in the city. It is such a shame. I know the economy is struggling, but why can’t people throw their own trash away and not make others do it.

      I love reading about your reactions to movies and films. You have such a way with words and you always draw me in. Your honesty and charm shine.

      Did you fake an illness to go home? I wouldn’t blame you 🙂 Like you said, I had this happy feeling while I watched the film. I couldn’t wait to see what happened next and I was never let down. The entire movie is pure bliss-I stole your word, please forgive me.

      And you haven’t made that many recommendations lately. I was starting to worry about you. I’ve added all of the movies to my list. I always enjoy your recommendations…now I need to find the time to keep up 🙂

      • Carl V. says:

        No I didn’t, but I would have liked to! I did have the movie’s music in my head a few times during the day though and that was pleasant. I’m going to have to see if I can snag Amelie on bluray, I’m sure it would look gorgeous on our new big screen tv.

      • TBM says:

        Congrats on the new TV! I still haven’t switched to bluray, but I’m sure it is just a matter of time.

  10. Valentina says:

    I am a fan of Amélie and Audrey Tautou is a class act.

  11. Gilly Gee says:

    Love that film I must have seen it 4 times!

  12. I join the club by saying this is one of my favourite films, as you might have known it already 🙂 Such an easy and feel-good film. And well done with the review! I have seen it 3 or 4 times, but I still can’t make such a good review as yours! 🙂

    • TBM says:

      Thanks. This film really reminded me why I love going to the movies. Before watching this, I had seen a feel stinkers. But then I popped this into the DVD player and I was enchanted from the beginning.

  13. niasunset says:

    Oh dear TBM, this is one of my favorite ones… I have in my collection. How many times I watched I don’t know… I love soundtrack too… It is amazing romantic film… Thank you, with my love, nia

  14. I recently watched Amelie for the fourth time and fell in love with her all over again. I love how they bring each one of the characters to life by telling us what it is they like and they don’t like, I think that’s pretty much what we all do, we define ourselves based on the likes and dislikes we quietly develop. I imagine, like everyone else, love the colours and the aesthetic of the movie, such a good job. 🙂

    • TBM says:

      That is a good observation. I didn’t think of that until you mentioned it. I think this movie will became a fave in our house. Thanks!

  15. Fergiemoto says:

    I saw this a while back! Thanks for the recap!

  16. Robin says:

    Amélie is one of my favorite films. It’s delightful. 🙂

  17. I just loved this offbeat movie, too. Since you’re on a French theme after having visited Paris, you might be interested in Paris Je T’aime. It’s a series of vignettes all about people in and around Paris. Paris is almost another character in the stories. There are lots of well known actors like Juliette Binoche, Steve Buscemi and Elijah Wood. Some vignettes I liked better than others, but they were all fun to watch.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0401711/

  18. blueberriejournal says:

    Maybe you already know it, but if not, you should see Odette Toulemonde. You probably like it, too.

  19. I am not a fan of romantic comedies, but this one I did watch and I totally loved it. I think it’s I time I watch it again.

  20. I loved Amélie! One of my all time favourites.

  21. I love this film. Have seen it several times. She is definitely a quirky character, but one that grows on you.

  22. Jo Bryant says:

    I have no idea how i will find this in NZ…but i will

  23. One of my all-time favorites. I adore this movie!

  24. Pingback: World Cinema Series – Wrap up and Winner Announcement « Beauty is a Sleeping Cat

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