Year: 2001
Production Co: Claudie Ossard Productions
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Writer: Jean-Pierre Jeunet/Guillaume Laurant
Cast: Audrey Tatou, Mathieu Kassovitz

Would I have liked it more if I hadn't had months of everyone telling me how brilliant it was, magazines calling it 'movie of the year' and friends telling me they'd seen it twice? It had some great characters, great direction, camera work and detailed cinematography, but I think the critical kudos went overboard.

Tatou is an incredible looking girl/child with doe eyes and facial expressions that betray such a childlike, innocent joy that she's like an angel - her performance drew you into a fairy tale world nothing like the real one, where she looks like she wouldn't belong. But the problem was that all throughout the great storytelling, great acting and great setting, it wasn't really about anything. It looked to be about a woman who decides to do nothing but good deeds and help mankind (like a hip French Pay it Forward), except that she exacted revenge on the cruel (like the abusive grocer and her father).

Then it looked like the story of a lonely, timid woman finding love with a like minded soul after being crippled by her stilted, loveless childhood (in which case nothing else that happened had anything to do with the story). It was full of information and characters that seemed unnecessary or served no purpose, like her Magwitch-like artist neighbour who played a very obscure Obi Wan Kenobi type emotional benefactor.

Maybe I'm just too full of Hollywood plots where everything is packaged for easy digestion, but I can't help thinking the reason everyone loved Amélie so much is just because it was so different to what Hollywood churns out.

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