Few foreign films make it to nationwide release in the United States, but when they do, it says something about the quality of the film. Amelie is no exception, and can easily be considered as one of the best movies of the year.
The French-language film is about a young woman who discovers how great it is by helping other people, and she sets out to change many people's lives by doing small things to "urge" them in certain directions. Of course, in the process, she realizes that at some point she might have to help herself, and finally confront the man of her dreams.
Amelie is a very quirky drama comedy that has a very interesting and unique style about it. The first fifteen minutes are some of the best in the film, as they cover the background of many of the characters. By the time the introduction was over, I knew that I was in store for a great movie.
The movie pulls you into Amelie's world, which is really not just hers but many overlapping characters, all with their own problems. Partially from the viewpoint of Amelie, and partially from that of the narrator, the movie is able to create fully three dimensional characters with just a few lines of dialogue, or even just a facial expression.
Honestly, the least interesting part of the entire movie is Amelie's relationship with the man that she's never actually spoken with (which is considered the central part of the movie), but that is only because all of the other little stories are so good. Her attempts to start a relationship are fun to watch, but compared to her mingling in one of her coworker's relationship, and especially to the travels of her father's lawn gnome (yes, you heard me right), it just is a step behind.
Nevertheless, there is really nothing to complain about. Amelie draws you in with ease, presenting a blend of so many storylines that work so well together. The acting is great, the direction is even better, and the script is fabulous. Amelie is 2001's Life is Beautiful, only better.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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