ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  jean-pierre jeunet

RATED  -  r

GENRE  -  romance

LENGTH  -  122 minutes

RELEASED  -  1 november 2001

DISTRIBUTOR  -  miramax pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  amélie

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  €11,400,000
amelie - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from amelie at

buy the dvd from amelie at

amelie, an innocent and naive girl in paris, with her own sense of justice, decides to help those around her and along the way, discovers love.

paris is a graffiti-ridden city, and the areas in which the film was shot had to be cleaned and restored.


picture from amelie

picture from amelie

picture from amelie


three out of four possible stars

A sweet and sometimes witty film, Amélie (pronounced AHH-me-LEE), runs a little long but is creative enough to hold a viewer's interest for most of the two hours. This film exists in a kind of alternate universe in that the people and the things that happen to them are just a little bit unrealistic. There are several magical elements to this film which add to the thought that this is not the Paris of 1997 (as the movie suggests), but a fairy-tale version of France. The people are sweet, if a little bit argumentative. None of that usual french disdain is present in the story. Of course, that could be because there are no Americans in the film and, as a consequence, no one to belittle.

But the characters fit well into this world, and the performances combined with the dialogue (even though I was reading subtitles) were good enough to keep my interest for most of the film. And don't let the subtitles (if you don't speak French fluently) scare you away from the film. It takes only about ten minutes until reading the sub-titles and watching the action onscreen becomes easy. It's a little awkward at first, but this film has humor that is understandable simply through the emotions of the actors. And one of this film's best aspects is the diverse set of characters put together in the story.

Amélie, the title character, played by audrey tautou, creates a lot of the magic in this film through her accomplished performance. although she's only 23, she displays a lot of maturity for someone so young. perhaps its the way her character affects everyone else in the film, but she shows a wide range of emotion that makes her a very likable person in the film. though it is possible that her character was made so interesting by the way the film was put together. the editing, cinematography, and special effects are quite original. There is a lot of stock footage and odd angles used throughout the film to give it a slant that's just a little bit different from a mainstream film.

Whether this is because the film is french, or because it's just the work of some very creative filmmakers, Amélie has many parts to it that make it very original. The tagline of the "she'll change your life" is true for the characters in the film, and kind of true for the audience because Audrey's performance is exceptional. And the actors around her do quite a capable job as well. This film has a larger than normal cast for a comedy, but the characters each have a good amount of individuality (shown through a series of odd quirks) that makes it easy to keep everyone seperated. And those quirks are actually pretty hilarious at times. One of the characters enjoys taking all the items out of her purse, cleaning it out and placing everything back into it. And another character loves to pop bubble wrap. Every character in the film has one of these weird habits. And these habits make each of the characters interesting in their own right.

Where this film faulters is in its length. It's not long like epic long, it's only two hours, but since the plot runs a little thin sometimes, the people stop being sweet and get a little tedious. In fact, tedious is a good word for the last half hour or so of the film. Amélie's playful hard-to-get attitude and how she acts around nino gets to the point where it doesn't feel cute anymore. As an audience member, you just want them to get together, not because they deserve one another, but because the hide and seek between the characters just gets overly long. Amélie strings her would-be suiter along for so many scenes that the film kind of loses steam by the end.

but Amélie's faults do not overshadow the fact that this film has a lot of entertaining humor and some impressive acting jobs. Being that this is a comedy, it would probably have been more prudent for the filmmakers to adhere to the hour and a half running time common to most films in its genre. But because it hangs around for two hours instead, the whole game gets tiring. The film must rely on the strong performances of its actors and a quirky story to sustain it. And for the most part, it succeeds. The film as a whole is worth the two hours you have to sit in the theater, even if you have to wade through some slow parts near the end. Jean-Pierre Jeunet has created a unique film with a lot of potential and its few flaws are no reason to hate it.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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