Amelie made waves when it was released in 2001. It was France’s nominee for the best foreign-language film. It is very French, there is no getting around that. It is a fun story looking at one naïve girl’s interactions with the world around her in pursuit of poetic justice. Amelie is portrayed by Audrey Tautou.
The movie is very colorful and the actors seem to play in their world, not merely exist. Multiple storylines are going on around Amelie before she discovers a box of childhood trinkets. She decides to change the course of her life based on the reaction that the trinkets owner has to receive the box decades after his family moved from Amelie’s apartment. She receives a positive result in her experiment and continues trying to do good in the world for good people.
Her pursuits cause Amelie to cross paths with Nino Quincampoix, Mathieu Kassovitz, a strange man who scrapbooks with discarded photo booth pictures. Amelie tries to help Nino discover the identity of a recurring subject in the pictures. She works in secret and she and Nino start to fall for each other without ever meeting. It is a difficult story to pull off but it is done very well and engages the audience. Amelie is still very nervous as the two get closer to the meeting. You want desperately for them to get together.
French film making has a style. The camera work is deliberate and elaborate with long-lingering shots. The sets are often highly colorful. The story of Amelie is compelling and elevates this movie from more than just a French cinematic exercise. This is a complete package that is a wonderful representation of France and was the perfect selection for their Oscar nomination.