Review of Amélie

Amélie (2001)
1/10
Insufferably Annoying
2 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Not too long ago I was watching "The Hustler", and it was quite obvious that the film and practically everything about it was undeniably cool. Especially the way Jackie Gleason walked, the way he was dressed, the way he spoke, he wasn't trying to be cool, he simply was.

On a minorly related note, "Amelie" is a film that wants to be quirky, it wants to be cutesy, but it fails because it tries too hard: The exaggerated camera movements and sound effects, the ultra-luminous (yet rather nice) cinematography designed to turn Paris into a fantasy world, the odd quips of dialogue on orgasms, but the absolute biggest fault of the film is with the lead character known as Amelie.

Amelie is a woman-child who likes to take it upon herself to do selfless good deeds for everyone around her, and the entire storyline revolves around her attempts to fix various problems for everyone within her vicinity. The only problem is that Amelie's selflessness isn't real, she's only doing this to feed her own sense of accomplishment so she can crack that god-awful smile at the camera once that good deed is done. Not long after it becomes extremely apparent that she's a psychopath who breaks into other people's appartments to screw with them (because she, not the police or any authorities, must be the one to deal with bad people), appoints herself as an unneeded tour guide for a blind man and basically does whatever she wants, regardless of whether it actually helps anyone.

The film has clearly taken cues from the French New Wave (Amelie even watches "Jules Et Jim" at the Cinema) but it has taken those editing and storytelling tricks to the nth degree and spoiled the entire film, even Amelie is taken from Irene Jacob's character in "Three Colours: Red" and made even nicer and sweeter until she's just plain obnoxious It's an unbearably naive film that's filled with so much sugary fake charm that it becomes sickening rather quickly, and once the cutesy novelty wears off you realise that there's just no substance to the storyline at all. Some people have been enchanted by the magical qualities of it, but I was completely put off as the whole thing was over-the-top and rather self-indulgent. A film like "L'Atalante" finds the poetic beauty in the banality of life and simply displays it in all of its ordinary glory. "Amelie" constantly forces you to accept its own childish and faux-magical view of the world, some people can accept it, but I can't.
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