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Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain
Year:
2001
Country:
Germany, France
Genre:
Fantasy, Romance, Comedy
IMDB rating:
8.5
Director:
Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Audrey Tautou as Amélie Poulain
Mathieu Kassovitz as Nino Quincampoix
Rufus as Raphaël Poulain
Lorella Cravotta as Amandine Poulain
Serge Merlin as Raymond Dufayel
Jamel Debbouze as Lucien
Claire Maurier as Madame Suzanne - la patronne du café
Isabelle Nanty as Georgette
Dominique Pinon as Joseph
Artus de Penguern as Hipolito
Yolande Moreau as Madeleine Wallace
Urbain Cancelier as Collignon
Maurice Bénichou as Dominique Bretodeau
Storyline: Amélie is a story about a girl named Amélie whose childhood was suppressed by her Father's mistaken concerns of a heart defect. With these concerns Amélie gets hardly any real life contact with other people. This leads Amélie to resort to her own fantastical world and dreams of love and beauty. She later on becomes a young woman and moves to the central part of Paris as a waitress. After finding a lost treasure belonging to the former occupant of her apartment, she decides to return it to him. After seeing his reaction and his new found perspective - she decides to devote her life to the people around her. Such as, her father who is obsessed with his garden-gnome, a failed writer, a hypochondriac, a man who stalks his ex girlfriends, the "ghost", a suppressed young soul, the love of her life and a man whose bones are as brittle as glass. But after consuming herself with these escapades - she finds out that she is disregarding her own life and damaging her quest for love. Amélie then ...
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Reviews
A little gem!!!
Well, I'd read the reviews, I loved "Delicatessan" anyway, so I thought I'd give this a go! And boy, am I glad I did!! This little gem of a film is funny, smart, sweet and just a really fun way to cheer yourself up when you're feeling down; already one of my Top 10 films.

Do yourself a favour, if you haven't seen it yet then go now; be spontaneous, after all, Amelie is!!
2001-11-04
Wittily observed and quirky romance that's imaginative and sweet
Amélie grows up a slightly introverted child as a result of her unusual parents. When she grows up she has her own unusual habits and quirks. When she finds a hidden box of childhood toys in her house she decides to track down the owner and return it to him. Seeing the happiness that she brings to him she resolves to work in secret to make other people happy. However can she be happy herself?

I wasn't sure what to expect with this film - I'd heard others raving on the boards about it but didn't even know the most basic of plot details about it, I didn't even know who the director was. When the opening credits rolled and I saw that it was Jeunet as director I immediately realised that this may not be as straightforward as I had thought. Almost immediately, the different humour comes through in lots of ways - from little things like the way the cameras moves up to the full script. The plot doesn't totally work and some of the strands are a little unclear, but overall the film really works well as an alternative romance that is as sweet as it is quirky.

The influence of Jeunet is the main reason the film works as well as it does. He tones down his usual darker style and delivers something just as different and unusual but much lighter and refreshing. As writer he does a great job coming up with imaginative characters and situations. The other reason it works so well is through the performance of Tautou; she is such a wide eyed innocent - sweet without being sickly and likable without taking away from her quirkiness. The support cast are all good and features a few Jeunet regulars but really it is Tautou's film and she carries it well thanks to the great work of the director.

Overall this is a surprisingly sweet film that took me by surprise and was sweetly charming and lovely without falling into cliché - it was different and quirky in a refreshingly enjoyable way. If you come to this expecting one of `the greatest films ever made' then you may be a little surprised because the film is quite unassuming and is best enjoyed when you come to it fresh.
2003-12-29
Audrey Tautou is magical
Amelie is a film that struck a certain chord with me. Every now and then movies come along that speak out to you and emotionally touch you in some way. Amelie is one such film for me. I related to its innocent charm and delightfully shy protagonist played by French sensation Audrey Tautou, the way very few films have. Part of the reason we watch movies is to learn something about ourselves or recognize characters that are remarkably similar to us and the way we are in real life. For all of us shy, introverted, quirky, and odd-ball eccentrics out there who have trouble relating to "normal" people, Audrey Tautou in this film is our personal hero. Instead of going into much detail about why the film works, I'll instead try to explain what it meant to me personally. Sure I guess this means I have to open up maybe more than I'd like to about myself, but oh well. The way Amelie's childhood was presented is similar to my own. I am an only child to divorced parents and very rarely had friends as I was and still am very much a loner. As a child much of my time was spent alone so I entertained myself in all kinds of silly ways. Just like Amelie does in the film. Of course I gained my fixation with films at an extremely early age, but also did stupid things like give my stuffed animals personalities and have conversations with them, draw pictures and create stories to go along with them, and laid in bed listening to the radio with the windows open on a lazy summer day imagining creatures out of the cloud formations. Apparently there are legions of us out there. Even today I enjoy solitude far more than the company of most people and still use my imagination to think of stupid little things. Amelie did an amazing job in capturing what the world is like through the eyes of a person who doesn't really fit in, but finds joy in the simple things in life. Like the fresh spring breeze on your face, the sound of the rain, the chirping of birds, the touch of fur, and popping bubble wrap. Actually popping bubble wrap was always an exciting and rare treat during my youth. Jean-Pierre Jeunet's film also has a marvelously fun nifty view of sex. For Amelie sex is not something that is intimidating, temptingly desirable, sinful, adult, or lustful. It's just another of the many silly things that people do in this world that make us human. Two people taking off their cloths and rubbing up against one another. How sweet! In fact many people have insulted the film for it's unique view and open attitude towards sex. For shame really. Sure there's a lot of it actually. Amelie's first sexual encounter, the orgasms, the object of her affection working in a porn shop with a stripper and putting price tags on didoes. But it's all in good fun and filmed with the naivety that a character like Amelie would view sex as. Anyways the movie really works. Cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel does an excellent job in filming Jeunet's crazy vision and Audrey Tautou with her funky hairdo, wide brown eyes, and whimsical voice and kitten like mannerisms and shyness brings the movie to life. As I said I relate to this movie and understand the character the way I do with few other movies simply because it is frighteningly very much like I tend to be in real life.

"You mean she would rather imagine herself relating to an absent person than build relationships with those around her?"

Hmm, so would I sometimes. Audrey Tautou's been a more reliable friend than most people and has put a smile on my face and lightened my day at the thought of her more times than one. And I still say I'll marry her one day.
2005-03-27
"Presque parfait!",like the French would say...


This piece of art just shocked me.Not by non-sense visual or sound effects,not by its hard,war scenes,not by its too-profound-to-be-understood psycho-socio-sexual comment ,but by its h u m a n i t y. Humanity...Just think about that.Have we all forgotten the sense of this word?In a world that depresses us into our little caves,in a period when no-one is safe and sure about the intentions of his/hers neighbour ,thoughts about giving LOVE and HAPPINESS to the people surrounding you,me,everyone are really really precious. I do not want to speak about the plot,this you have already read in other comments around.I only want to say one thing.If you believe that people can love and give,then just go see this movie right now.You deserve it!

P.S:The soundtrack is just "parfait" as well...
2001-10-29
It's my favorite movie of all time...
Short analysis on Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain

For 20 years Jean-Pierre Jeunet collected small astonishing and intriguing moments in his life, taking notes in his diary, not knowing that he was up to co-write and direct one of the most successful film in French film history. Jean-Pierre Jeunet fell in love with the story and the film he titled Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain. But it's popularity was even a surprise to Jean-Pierre Jeunet himself as he once stated: `I guess I have to produce a film like Alien Resurrection (USA 1997) to make a movie like Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain', obviously not aware of the films potential. Unfortunately the film didn't win an Academy Award for the best foreign film in 2001 which still puzzles film fans all over the world.

I consider Jean-Pierre Jeunet's film as a masterpiece. In my opinion, it is an outstanding film in film history for its cinematography, the music, the story, but above all the overall atmosphere. Going to the cinema is like meditating. We sit for over one-hour and comfortable chair - our breath slows down and as the lights are switched off, we enter a dream world. We seek to escape our normal world just for a short period of time, to experience something totally different and yet, we want to find ourselves in this world. Thanks to Jean-Pierre Jeunet I had a wonderful dream, I will never forget.

Jean-Pierre Jeunet and his camera man, Bruno Delbonnel, wanted to make the film look like the Spanish painter did his artwork. To establish a dreamlike atmosphere they used mostly red and green, sometimes adding a little blue spot in the picture to set the contrast. Audrey Tautou (Amélie Poulain), mostly wears either red or green dresses, as well as the housekeeper (Yolande Moreau as Madelaine Wallace, concierge), and Amélie's mother (Lorella Cravotta as Amandine Poulin) in the beginning of the film. When Amélie Poulain sits down to watch the tragedy of her life on her TV, there is an outstanding of a blue lamp in the background. Sometimes the use of color gets very obvious. Amélie's apartment for example is almost completely red, the underground station and the train station are kept in green and the green grocery store stands out from the grey buildings. Honestly, I haven't noticed the extreme use of color the first time I watched the movie. I just wondered how Jeunet succeeded in establishing such a fabulous atmosphere.

The atmosphere is also supported by the magnificent music by Yann Tiersen who has composed 19 songs in 15 days for this movie. The principal motive appears in many variations somehow being joyful, yet at the same time sad - slow and sometimes fast and activating. The music supports every moment in the film and becomes the sound of a fabulous world.

Camera movement certainly contributes its part to the atmosphere. Balanced and unbalanced pictures contribute to the message of each shot. Right in the beginning when Amélie's mother is introduced, the picture is balanced symbolizing her pursuit for correctness and cleanliness. The same can be about the first shots of Amélie's father. When talking about his dislikes, the shots are unbalanced. But more impressing are some camera movements. For example there is an astonishing high angle shot of Amélie flipping stones on le canal in Paris. The camera shows her leaning on a fence, flying above her head then craning to a low angle shot to show her flipping stones in the direction of the camera. Another one worth mentioning might be the chase of the repairs person. Nino is shown falling up the steps chasing the repairs person for the photo machines. The camera turns to show the man getting in the car driving off. Still in a low angle Nino starts his moped, trying to follow the worker, almost hitting a car. Amélie is entering the picture running after Nino. The camera follows her, then turning almost 180° around her to show her hold Nino's red bag that he lost. When Amélie sits in front of the station, we see her in a long shot, the camera dollies in to fly over her head to an over-the-shoulder shot. Some of these camera movements are really awesome, not only from a technical point of view, but moreover from an aesthetic standpoint. They support the dreamlike atmosphere, adding interesting aspects to ordinary actions.

Audrey Tautou at the age of 23 is an astonishing actress. I really can't imagine anybody doing the job better than she did. To me she is not only giving life to the character, she lives it. It's wonderful to watch her. There was no moment when I had the faintest impression that there is something wrong or inappropriate in her acting. Also Mathieu Kassovitz as Nino Quincampoix is extraordinarily gifted with his talent. Most of the actors have done a wonderful job, although I want to mention the scene when Amélie's mother gets her nervous breakdown because of the suicidal fish. This scene appeared to me exaggerated which it probably was intended to be. Anyhow, the extreme close-up of Yolande Moreau was to intriguing to me, so I shrug back in disgust rather than laughing about it. I gues this was the director's choice, so I don't hold her responsible for that.

Another negative and distracting thing where some scenes when Jean-Pierre Jeunet decided to show the key in Amélie's pocket after copying it and bringing the original key back to the grocer's door in a very unrealistic way. He uses a digital effet showing the key's silhouette in a yellow light. This is a technique that hasn't been used very often in the film, except for showing Amélie's heart going faster and the old, blind man feeling very happy after being guided by Amélie. All these scenes disturb the otherwise wonderful cinematography. There could have been other ways to communicate the actions. A simple smile on the old's man face, a close-up of Amélie's hand letting the copied key slide into her pocket and the heart beat as a background sound would have done the same without disturbing the atmosphere.

Anyway, Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain is still my favorite movie. The narration is perfectly arranged taking its time to tell every detail. I enjoyed the subplots a lot that are told in a subtle way. Maybe the introduction is a bit to long, but still I enjoyed every second. Maybe I am too used to typical Hollywood productions, where you can tell the stages of a story by watching the clock. Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain has its own rhythm driving the story forward not by a superhero trying to achieve his goal, but by a hero that knows that she has time to arrange everything by strategic means. Maybe that is also one reason why I like this film so much. The story is told with time and not against time. There is no last minute-rescue, no time pressure, no need to act. It just takes its time as life does.

In my opinion, Jean-Pierre Jeunet created a masterpiece. A film that is not only outstanding because of the cinematography, the special effects or any other technical characteristics, but also combines the perfection of craftsmanship with a wonderful story, humour, and emotion.

2002-12-03
Why do people like this movie???
I hate to be one of those negative people, but I hate this movie with an incredible fiery passion. I think it's very possibly the most overrated film of all time. I watched it a while back expecting to see something amazing but I was disappointed beyond words. The main character is very possibly the most annoying movie creation of all time. She's really cutesy and pale and she doesn't say anything. She's like a cross between Shirley Temple and a mime. By the end of the movie you just want to reach into the screen and choke her. Beyond that, as far as I can tell, the movie has no point whatsoever. And just for record, I'm not just saying this because I'm an idiot American who can't appreciate French cinema--I actually love French films (my favs are The Girl On The Bridge, La Haine, and Leon: The Professional). But this one just makes me want to pull my hair out. Anyway, I'll certainly attempt to watch it again at some point and give it another chance, but so far I'm at a complete loss as to why this movie is ranked at #18. Feel free to reply and tell me why I'm wrong.
2003-05-26
Is Amelie French for Overrated
Amelie: 6/10: Sweet, light and sometimes a little irritating this strangely adult fable starts out very strong and sinks under the weight of it's too cute for words protagonist and her self made predicament. Amelie is a strange bird indeed. She seems initially one of those wonderfully original creations but as time in the movie marches on it becomes obvious. She is a twelve-year-old girl in a woman's body.

Yup she has silly crushes plays silly pranks and a vivid imagination. In fact one could very much see her being played by a twelve year old. This would work perfectly if the movie wasn't so jarringly adult in other ways. (Amelie's quest works in a porn shop, people having hook-up sex in a daytime café)

It is more of a tone issue than any objection to adult content. (As a glance at most of my other reviews will testify.) Also like most twelve-year olds Amelie pulls pranks and games a little to long. (After the 2-hour mark or so I was practically screaming at the screen to get on with it)

Now don't get me wrong the first hour or so is one of the most delightful screen experiences. I loved the traveling gnome (which started a fad that lives on today) and liked the obsessive tape recording man in café.

It also shows a true fantasy version of Paris like You've You Mail's New York. In fact when Amelie is helping others rather than on her own quest the movie seems to move briskly and with purpose.

It is only in her pursuit of love that Amelie fails as both a person and a movie. Just like most twelve-year-old girls.
2005-03-09
This is rated so highly cause it deserves it
A slice of heaven right here on earth, "Amelie" is a joy to behold, and has some of the most gorgeous cinematography I've ever seen in a movie.

Audrey Tatou is perfection as the title character. A combination of Audrey Hepburn, Dolly Levi and Roger Rabbit, she involves herself in the world surrounding her as a means of really enjoying living. There are moments when she finds complete and total joy just walking down the street.

Some of it is hilarious, too..like when her pet goldfish habitually tries to commit suicide, or when she is on the telephone with the man at the porno shop, or when a character is asked "Are you a congenital shmuck"?

But for the most part, its a human comedy, about love, of course.

Just beautiful. 10/10.
2003-03-01
Friendly escapism
This movie is a pleasure to watch. It is set in a (non-existant) Paris, clean and filled with friendly people. It's sunny, and misery is only decorum.

"Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain" is *not* the great movie everyone says it is. Don't get me wrong: I enjoyed it thoroughly, but it's easy to score with a magical, slightly surrealistic feelgood movie, where you can leave all human troubles at the doorstep.

Amélie did not "grip" me at any point, because it was so obvious from the start that things would work out. For everybody. Sure, I laughed at some points and marvelled at some technical cinematic wizardry, but that's to be expected of a comedy of this sort.

The eyes of Audrey Tautou are very nice to look into, but her regular girly grins (combined with a larger-than-life zoom-in) got on my nerves, at times.

This movie is not a 10. Over 4600 people thought it was, but I really can't see why. It's a good movie. It's not a great movie. The current top spot in the Movie Top 250 is, in my opinion, undeserved. Either people needed this kind of escapism - post 9-11 and all, but I sense chauvinistic voting.

Do you need to see this movie? Yes, but only as pleasing eye candy. I found no deeper philosophical meaning in "Amélie", but that's not the purpose of the movie.

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

Two sidenotes:

Some elements of the movie were nicked. The travelling garden gnome is part of an internet folklore. The part where Amélie messes with the appartement of the greengrocers was lifted straight out of a story by Roald Dahl, in which a man brings his wife to madness by slowly, but deliberately changing small elements of the house.

Still, it was a pleasure to watch. Leave reason at the door, but remember to pick it up when you leave.
2002-01-04
Psychologically insightful


This movie is stylish beyond belief. But what strikes me most is the way it manages to capture the reality of human emotions, how internal monologues are played out in the form of TV programs, how dreams are simulated by the magical movements of inanimate objects and talking photographs! It is a charismatic portrayal of inner existence and the most natural desire to pursue happiness, both in our life and that of others.
2001-12-28
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