Find me a more disarming movie than “Amelie,” this week’s “F.I.L.M.” Try to name a movie that can match it in charm. Try to name a movie that is capable of delivering such a warm feeling. Well, I’m waiting.
While those of you who have seen the movie ponder, allow me to sell “Amelie” to all those who have not seen it. The movie features the star-making turn of Audrey Tautou as the titular character, an incurable optimist and do-gooder in France. She has the kind of circumstances that breed the neurotic protagonists of Woody Allen films – misdiagnosed with a heart condition by her father, Amelie is homeschooled. Unable to have friendships with other kids, her only friend is her pet fish, which unfortunately turns suicidal. Her mother dies after someone committing suicide falls on top of her.
Yet despite all the unfortunate circumstances, Amelie emerges smiling. She finds pleasure in the little things in life, such as breaking creme brulee with a teaspoon. And after a surprising find in her apartment allows her to bring a giddy rush of joy to an old man, she commits herself to spreading the feeling to everyone she knows. This includes her morose father, her solitary neighbor, a sullen co-worker, and a young man with a few quirks of his own. Through her adventures, Amelie becomes the benevolent guardian angel we all want looking over our shoulder.
And it’s not just Amelie’s personality that lights up this movie like a Christmas tree. The movie’s visual style feels like a warm hug, beginning with the film’s colors. Every frame seems dipped in sepia, which surprisingly turns out to be like sugar-coating an already sweet treat. The cinematography is magical, always a little odd and unexpected. Every minute is like unwrapping a mystery-flavored lollipop – you know that you’ll devour whatever lies in store no matter what you get. To top it off, there’s a whimsical score beneath it all to really make the movie float like a balloon.
So, do you have that movie that can be – dare I say it – as cute as “Amelie?” I can’t stand using that word, mainly because I’m a guy, but the word just seems so appropriate to describe the movie. Once you see it, I guarantee it will quickly shoot to the top of your “instant feel-good” movies list. In fact, it’s more than a feel-good movie. ”Amelie” is a feel-great movie.