Had I seen it before: No.
What IMDb says: Amélie is an innocent and naive girl in Paris with her own sense of justice. She decides to help those around her and, along the way, discovers love.
– At least one foreign film.
Why I picked it: I needed to do a foreign film. And roughly 56% of why I gave myself a foreign film requirement is so that I would finally force myself to watch Amélie. So here we are.
What I liked about it: There’s a charm and quirk here, reminiscent of Wes Anderson. I don’t watch that much French/European cinema so it’s hard to say if that’s why this film felt so novel to me or if it really is just that unconventional.
Amélie did a wonderful job of pulling me in very early simply by describing characters in unconventional ways. If you follow this blog regularly, you know I commonly criticize movies/tv that rely too heavily on voiceover for exposition. I will amend this statement a bit and say if you ARE going to rely heavily on voiceover for exposition Amélie is how you need to do it. Make your copy interesting. Make it something I haven’t heard before. Make it information that would be really difficult to concisely convey without voiceover.
By giving us expository copy that focuses on seemingly random facts about different characters, there’s this sense of importance on those random things. And perhaps most importantly, the filmmakers kicked the whole thing off by telling their audience “we are not afraid to buck filmmaking convention.” That made me want to pay closer attention moving forward.
One thing about Amélie I enjoyed is that it feels so deliberate. They oversaturated their footage, but they did it to the point that I know it’s for aesthetic and not a mistake*. There’s some weird special effects here and there that aren’t really necessary to tell the story at hand, but the filmmakers decided they wanted them. Nothing about Amélie is accidental, and I admire the director and writers for accomplishing that.
What I didn’t like: I never really felt SUPER invested in the story of Amélie itself. I give it points for being unpredictable but I can’t say it really gripped me the way I want a movie to. At times it felt as though my interest in the movie stemmed more from a desire to see what filmmaking choices might be made rather than a desire to actually know what happened to Amélie.
I think part of this stemmed from the fact that a lot of the supporting characters were rather flat to me. Yes, they each had one or two quirky character traits assigned to them, but none of them had their own arc or all that much screentime. I would’ve preferred if there were fewer supporting characters and they each had time to form meaningful relationships with Amélie.
Will I watch it again: I doubt it. I’m glad I watched it but it doesn’t demand to be seen again.
*I’m like 80% sure saturation is the word I’m looking for here, but I am neither a cinematographer nor a film editor. If I am wrong, I beg thee to forgive me, oh mighty film nerds who know the difference.