Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain

Amelie is a delight. You smile as you watch and later you keep thinking of things that make you smile again... I heard a while back that Amelie caused a rash of doing good deeds in France when it showed there. That's not a bad thing. The Christian version of the Golden Rule is "Do to others as you would have them do to you."
Review by Darrel Manson

Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain

This page was created on January 20, 2002
This page was last updated on May 21, 2005


Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Story by Guillaume Laurant and Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Screenplay by
Guillaume Laurant

Audrey Tautou .... Amélie Poulain
Mathieu Kassovitz .... Nino
Quincampoix Rufus .... Raphaël Poulain, Amélie's Father
Yolande Moreau .... Madeleine Wells, Concierge
Artus de Penguern .... Hipolito, The Writer
Urbain Cancelier .... Collignon, The Grocer
Maurice Bénichou .... Bretodeau, The Box Man
Dominique Pinon .... Joseph
Claude Perron .... Eva, The Strip Teaser
Michel Robin .... Old Man Collignon
Isabelle Nanty .... Georgette
Clotilde Mollet .... Gina
Claire Maurier .... Suzanne
Serge Merlin .... Dufayel
Jamel Debbouze .... Lucien
Lorella Cravotta .... Amandine
Poulain Armelle .... Philomène
Flora Guiet .... Amélie (8 Years Old)
Amaury Babault .... Nino (As a Child)
Jean Darie .... The Blind Man
Ticky Holgado .... The Photo Booth Man
Marc Amyot .... The Stranger
Dominique Bettenfeld .... The Screaming Neighbor
Eugène Berthier .... Eugene Koler
Andrée Damant .... Mrs. Collignon
Sister Rosetta Tharpe .... Herself (archive footage)

Produced by
Claudie Ossard .... executive producer
Jean-Marc Deschamps .... producer

Original music by Yann Tiersen
Cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel
Film Editing by Hervé Schneid

Rated PG


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This sunny comic fable from idiosyncratic director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (City of Lost Children, Alien Resurrection, Delicatessen) boasts any number of intimate charms, not the least of which is Yann Tiersen's warmly inviting score. Composer and multi-instrumentalist Tiersen's work and training may have masterfully encompassed classical, pop, and rock, but his delightful Amélie music proves he is slave to none. In this, his fourth soundtrack, Tiersen displays an impressive command of idiom and melodic subtlety that's rightfully drawn comparisons to the great Nino Rota. With a Paris-set story driven by blossoming love, the composer frequently leans on the familiar Parisian street accordion motif as a starting point. If that sounds clichéd, it's anything but; Tiersen's delicate touch incorporates Gypsy flourishes, classical string ensembles, electronics, stark and lovely solo piano, and even minimalist technique--often in the same charming cue. The result is music that manages to sound variously breezy, fresh, and contemporary, yet somehow comfortably familiar. Amélie is a warm, postmodernist score that never forgets where its heart lies. --Jerry McCulley

1. J'y Suis Jamais Alle 2. Les Jours Tristes (instrumental) 3. La Valse D'Amelie 4. Comtine D'un Autre Ete: L'apres Midi 5. La Noyee 6. L'autre Valse D'Amelie 7. Guilty 8. A Quai 9. Le Moulin 10. Pas Si Simple 11. La Valse D'Amelie (orchestra version) 12. La Valse Des Vieux Os 13. La Dispute 14. Si Tu N'etais Pas La 15. Soir De Fete 16. La Redecouverte 17. Sur Le Fil 18. Le Banquet 19. La Valse D'Amelie (piano version) 20. LaValse Des Monstres
She'll change your life.

Amélie Poulain (Audrey Tautou) is a young woman who glides through the streets of Paris as quietly as a mouse. With wide eyes and a tiny grin, she sees the world in a magical light, discovering minor miracles every day. A shy and reserved person whose favorite moments are spent alone skimming stones into the water, Amélie was raised by a pair of eccentrics who falsely diagnosed her with a heart problem at the age of six and so limited her exposure to the outside world. Now a free and independent woman, Amélie wears a bob that curls in every direction and dresses in red. With a job in a café and an aptitude for spying on her neighbors, Amélie entertains herself by enacting a series of homemade, kindhearted practical jokes. She returns a long-forgotten box of childhood knickknacks to its proper owner, she sends her father's garden troll on a trip around the world, and she creates a love connection at the café between the hypochondriac druggist and a beer-drinking old grouch. But when the day is done, Amélie finds one stone unturned, and decides to work her magic on the quirky object of her affections, Nino Quincampoix (Matthieu Kassovitz), whom she has never met.

Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (who codirected DELICATESSEN and THE CITY OF LOST CHILDREN with Marc Caro) presents AMÉLIE, a gorgeous and inventive film. The rich, glowing color scheme is offset by flashbacks in black and white archival footage that give short biographies of each character. A soft-spoken narrator guides viewers through this enlightening fairy tale, which sometimes speeds through the streets and other times drifts in slow motion. AMÉLIE is humorous, questioning, and strange, and it will change the lives of all who watch it if only for a short while after leaving Amélie's world.

Review By

Pastor, Artesia Christian Church, Artesia, CA

Darrel has an incredible love and interest in the cinematic arts. His reviews usually include independent and significantly important film. Some of his reviews: Chocolat, Dancer in the Dark, Faithless, Finding Forrester, Memento, O Brother Where art Thou, Pollock, Quills, Shadow of a Vampire, Widow of St Pierre, Jump Tomorrow, Tortilla Soup, Go Tiger, Life As a House, The Business of Strangers, The Man Who Wasn't There, A Beautiful Mind, In the Bedroom, Shipping News, Amelie

Click to enlargeTake a good measure of the magic of Chocolat, toss in some playful chaos theory, add a bit of Ally McBeal fantasy and you have an idea of what Amelie is. Amelie is a delight. You smile as you watch and later you keep thinking of things that make you smile again.

Amelie Poulain is a young woman in Paris who has grown up isolated from the world. As she ventures out, she begins to learn the joys of giving to others and living with them.

Click to enlargeWhen she discovers a small box filled with old toys hidden in a wall in her apartment, she decides she will try to find the person who as a child thought such things a treasure and return them to him. After that she begins to find ways of bringing bits of joy to others. She brings beautiful gifts into people's lives: telling a blind man all the things around him as she walks him across the street (giving sight to the blind), setting up two lonely people, finding a way to encourage her lonely father to travel.

Click to enlargeShe brings gifts, but she also brings retribution to those who deserve it. The green grocer treats his helper with disdain. She finds ways of setting up amazing pranks against him. Ah, but all this joy she's spreading, and what of Amelie? Will she find joy for herself or is just being a do-gooder enough? Will she be able to do something to bring herself happiness or will her shyness keep her always alone?

Click to enlargeAll of the characters in the story have quirks and frailties. They have likes and dislikes. They are all vulnerable on some level: blind, mentally challenged, brittle bones, prone to jealousy, shy and lonely. One character keeps a photo album made up of torn and discarded photos. There are many torn and discarded people. In many ways, we probably all have a sense of that.

Click to enlargeBut all the characters are able to do kind things. All are able to be loved. All are able to love. All have value and are precious in the sight of God. Amelie is a model of the graciousness of God. Her gifts are given anonymously. She gives out of the joy of giving, not as a reward. And because of the gifts she gives, others are encouraged to give themselves.

Click to enlargeI heard a while back that Amelie caused a rash of doing good deeds in France when it showed there. That's not a bad thing. The Christian version of the Golden Rule is "Do to others as you would have them do to you." We often think that means to be nice. How good do you think that means we have to be? What would it be if we began to live as Amelie? What would it mean if we began to be so generous, just for the sake of doing something good?

Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet is better known for much darker films (Delicatessen, The City of Lost Children). In Amelie, he has given us a gift to make our lives and our world more beautiful. Such gifts can only be credited to grace.

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Subject: Amalie
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002
From: GGH

 Everyone everywhere should hurry-up and see this movie. It is a gem. Even if you hate subtitle (like myself) It is a must see. Treat yourself and maybe you will be a treat to others as a result.

Subject: Amelie
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2002
From: "Sara Cobb"

I loved Amelie! What a sweet, incredibly charming and imaginative film. Audrey Tautou's performance was perfect. I could have done without the scenes in the porn shop, but other then that I thought it was great. I left the film feeling elevated, inspired, joyful, and full of goodwill. Amelie was a treat to watch and a joy to experience.
-Sara J. Cobb
Salt Lake City, UT

Subject: Amelie
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2002
From: "Simon Remark"

great review darrel... i really loved this movie. i thought it was one of the year's best. it was such a joy to watch, as you mentioned, and it was so beautiful watching Amelie overcome a sad childhood to bring others so much joy. keep up the good work, i thoroughly enjoy the insight and perspective you offer in your reviews!
simon remark

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