Running Time: 120 mins
Rated: MA 15+
Amelie or, as it's better titled in French, The fabulous destiny of Amelie, was released in Australia on Boxing Day last year. It's rare for a foreign language film still to be running in our cinemas over three months later. It helped that Amelie was nominated for an Oscar in the 'Best Film in a language other than English' category. But it is also a charming film which
deserves the wide audience it is attracting.
Amelie is a lonely young woman who lives to help others. She doesn't seek any recompense for her assistance, in fact she does it all in secret. She helps her neighbours, her father and her colleagues at the Parisian Café where she is a waitress. One day at her apartment she comes across a box of childhood trinkets belonging to a former resident. She makes his day by tracking him and down and anonymously returning the box. Eventually she meets a man slightly more loopy and obsessive than she is. Are they meant for each other?
The French cinema has always had a love affair with what they call "cinema fantastique". This does not just include fantasy films as we understand them, but films which make no apology for exploring mystical themes or metaphysical coincidences. Amelie is a delightful parable out of this fantastique stable.
It is not meant to make too much sense. It's meant to be a light, quirky and beautifully shot comedy. On these levels it works its magic. At just on two hours, it's a fraction too long but Audrey Tautou is superb as the impish and tragic clown, Amelie. Go and see why Australian audiences have taken Amelie to their hearts.
Richard Leonard SJ