Le Fabuleux destin d'Amelie Poulain (2001), Cert 15.

Director - Jean-Pierre Jeunet.

Writers - Jean-Pierre Jeunet & Guillaume Laurant.

Starring - Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus, Dominique Pinion & Michel Robin


Premise - Amelie (Audrey Tautou) is an innocent, naive girl who finds a box containing toys hidden behind a wall in her apartment. When she returns the box to it's owner she sees the joy that it brings him and decides to help others be happy.

Can you see it? Can you see the big goofy smile plastered across my face? It's not hard to miss. It's infectious and the only known cause is to watch a small French film called Le Fabuleux destin d'Amelie Poulain or just plain Ameile.

Watching Amelie makes everything in the world feel right, troubles are cast aside. If the term 'feel-good' was ever meant for a film then that film is Amelie.

Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet has made a film that is just so damn charming, but also has a devilish hint of black comedy. Suicidal goldfish, globe-trotting garden gnomes and deadly coincidences are thrown into the mix to ensure that the film never becomes too syrupy.

If you've seen any of Jeunet's previous work (like Delicatessen, City Of The Lost Children or even Alien: Resurrection) you will be familiar with his quirky frenetic style. In Amelie this style is used to perfection to carry the story. Never does the fancy camera trickery get in the way of furthering the plot, rather it accentuates what's happening. It brings the unique world that Amelie lives in to life for the audience to wonder at.

Critical to the charm of the film is the central performance by Audrey Tutou. Stare into her eyes for a second and you will be lost in a world of naivety and innocence. She is the moral centre in a world where planes crash and princesses die. She is everything that is right with life and she wants to share that feeling. Tautou owns this role, I haven't seen her in anything else, but I would have a hard time trying to separate her from this part.

The supporting cast are also fantastic. I can't fault any of them, sterling work by all concerned. The characters are so eclectic. What other film would offer a stripper, a grocer, a failed writer and a painter with brittle bone disease in the same movie? It's the same quirkiness that Jeunet shows in his direction that bleeds into the writing.

And what writing. The script is dripping with cleverness and invention. The comedy of the film is as I said of the black variety, but it's very subtle, not as 'in your face' as something like 'Freeway'. The script is a delight, sure you could say that the 'love conquers all' motif is a trifle cliched. But when the end result is so wonderfully crafted as this film that would just be nitpicking for nitpicking's sake.

The final piece of the puzzle that contributes to this wonderful movie is the soundtrack by Yann Teirsen. The music really adds to the feel of the film and is an excellent piece of work.

Amelie is a gorgeous and beautiful film that demands to be seen by as many people as possible. Run, don't trot, to the video store and rent it now! If you're not sporting a big goofy smile by the end of the film then you were given the wrong tape by the guy behind the counter.


9/10 for Ameile.

Poster Quote - Ja'dor Amelie.