Okay, so, I’ve been toying with an idea for a while, and, now that I’ve had enough sleep to think clearly, I think I should go through with it.
The idea is this: To review a couple of the books I read/films I watch/CDs I listen to, but only the really good ones–unless you have a specific book/film/CD you’d like me to review for you. In which case, you may email me the title and author/director/artist of said book/film/CD at firstname.lastname@example.org
So, for my first review, I’m going to critique the charmingly French film Amélie.
Amélie starts off like any other film. Well, in actuality, it starts off like no other film you’ve ever seen: With a strange clip of a sperm cell entering into an egg. Amélie is born nine months after said event. She is not allowed to go to public school because her father does not hug her enough, and so is schooled at home and becomes extremely introverted and imaginative (example: She thinks her neighbour’s comatose wife is just trying to get all her life’s sleep in one go).
Next, she gets a camera, and then is convinced by a different neighbour that her camera causes wrecks. Later, when she discovers he was lying, she does some charmingly Matilda-esque pranks.
Suddenly, A. is struck by tragedy: A suicidal tourist from Quebec lands on her mother, killing her instantly.
We see Amélie as a twenty-three year old woman next, working at a waitress. There is a brief glimpse into her life. Everything is kooky and vibrant. She is still like a child in her innocence.
Princess Diana dies.
Now, you would think that this had nothing to do with the plot, but it really does, because when A. hears, she drops a ball, which goes rolling and reveals the childhood memorabilia of a young boy who lived in her flat in the fifties.
She goes on a quest to bring this man his trinkets, making a promise that if it affects him greatly, she will start helping others more often.
And it brings the man great happiness.
And she becomes a regular do-gooder, becoming the eyes of a blind man, punishing a cruel grocer, revealing the identity of a ghost man to Nino (a man who likes to collect old snapshots of strangers in his spare time), helping a painter figure out what was missing in his painting, etc.
Of course, what film would complete without a splash of romance?
She begins to realize that she has a sorta thing for Nino, and Nino likes her back. There is a huge game of cat-and-mouse played across the backdrop of Paris; but, when the time finally comes for her to meet Nino face-to-face, she is too cowardly. She cannot.
But what’s this? It’s the old painter, M. Dufayel, to the rescue! With the help of his apprentice, Lucien, and a video camera, he leaves a message for A., telling her to go get Nino before it’s too late.
She does get Nino in the end, and they all live happily ever after. Except for the grocer. He doubts his own sanity.
Overall, I’d give this cinema 9.5/10 stars, with 1/10 being The Wiggles Go to Washington, and 10/10 being The Godfather.
To break down the scoring more neatly:
- Art Direction: 10/10. The film is completely zany and inane without losing its tenuous grasp on reality.
- Acting: 8/10. While Audrey Tautou is a good actress, she’s definitely no Audrey Hepburn. Nino is good. Dufayel was great.
- Writing: 10/10: Whoever wrote this film was a comic genius, making all of A.’s one-liners unforgettable. Who ever knew that “fifteen!” could be so funny?
- Plot: 9/10. The plot was good, but not as well executed as it could have been.