“Times are hard for dreamers.”
You know Revenge of the Nerds? Amelie is Revenge of the Emotional Introverts. Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Delicatessen, The City of Lost Children) and starring Audrey Tatou and Mathieu Kassovitz, it’s a film of immense beauty and feeling, and the story it tells gratifies the soul. The movie, like the title character, fixates on the little things that bring people joy and seeks to bring joy to everyone. It’s definitely more of a feeling movie than a thinking movie, but it’s done so masterfully that it brings out the romantic in everyone.
The plot focuses on Amelie Poulain, a tender and painfully shy young waitress in Paris. Due to some childhood trauma, she has trouble connecting with other people, although she has always longed for human attachment. One day, she finds a way to anonymously bring joy to a stranger and reconnect him with his past, which sets her on a journey to improve the lives of the people she meets. Along the way, she falls in love with an equally quirky young man named Nino Quincampoix. Amelie quickly discovers that it’s far easier for her to bring joy to others than to find it for herself, which she struggles to overcome.
She doesn’t relate to other people. She was always a lonely child.
Amelie is just about as charming as a movie can get. The art direction, the traditional French music, the mildly awkward situational comedy, and the character of Amelie Poulain are instantly likeable. Although sad at times, it’s a movie that will leave you feeling happy and fulfilled. Amelie acts as a cosmic karma police force, rewarding good people with joy, and occasionally punishing bad people in amusing ways. And it manages to do all of this in a way that’s not so sugary-sweet that you can’t take it seriously. It’s a feel-good movie with great emotional depth, and that is no easy feat.
Though Amelie focuses on joy and love, the movie is at its core about loneliness. That is the main struggle Amelie faces, and she has some frustrating failures when trying to honestly connect with others. In that sense, she’s an instant hero for the emotional introverts who face the same inner conflict. She does find her happy ending, which is even sweeter after all of the self-inflicted struggle she endured.
Amelie is an uplifting movie with more than enough passion and artistry to satisfy even people who say they don’t like uplifting movies. The movie is in French with English subtitles, but I never felt a break in the immersion. I’d recommend this movie to anyone, and especially those with a more emotional outlook on life. And if you need a pick-me-up, this movie will undoubtedly get the job done.
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Genres: adventure, romance