Movie review: Amelie

Years ago, a friend suggested that I watch Amelie. I think it’s the sort of movie you’d like, he said. I gave a halfhearted reply. The girl on the poster looks freaky, I quipped intelligently.

When I finally watched this movie a few weeks ago, I still remembered what my friend had said (even though, I’m ashamed to say, I can’t remember who exactly it was). He was right, though. From the opening scene, Amelie is a joy.

The story unfolds in a quaint, rose-washed Montmartre. Amelie is an odd little girl with somewhat unfortunate parents, who grows up to become an eccentric yet endearing young woman. After finding a tin box in her apartment that turns out to be a stranger’s boyhood treasure, Amelie becomes a sort of secret do-gooder and undercover matchmaker. Her ventures are hilarious and sweet. But as she persists with her ever more extravagant projects, the contrast between her secret bravado and her inward timidity becomes apparent. As her friend and neighbour, the “Glass Man,” points out, she is too cowardly to overcome her fear of rejection to pursue her own love and happiness.

Amelie is quirky, sweet, wryly funny and just a little bit naughty. One of my favourite aspects of this movie was its seemingly random attention to detail: at this time, two glasses dance unwatched on a tablecloth; at the same time, a bubblegum machine spins in the fair; a man discovers that there are more connections in his brain than atoms in the universe. The cinematography is bright and delightful without being overwhelming, and each scene exudes a sense of composition.

Amelie is a delight to watch. My only disappointment is that your first viewing will probably be the best. I rewatched this movie (yes, I’m one of those people) the following night but it had lost a tinge of its sparkle and curiosity. Nevertheless, it’ll be one of my favourites for a while (:

Rating: 9/10

Genre: Foreign film, comedy, romance

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