Amelie is one of those movies that I should have seen a long time ago and somehow didn’t until now. I will admit I made the first mistake of judging it by its cover in that I had read that it was a romantic comedy in a way and that instantly put me off. I’m not fond of what I would call a “chick flick”. Nevertheless I was extremely pleased at what I saw, namely a quirky and hilarious movie reminiscent of a book being read aloud. The story is fun and interesting with little surprises here and there and the almost Douglas Adams’ way of introducing every character with their particular likes and dislikes. The imagery is so rich in sound and color especially when describing Amelie’s small pleasures in life, such as dipping your hands in grain or cracking a creme brulee. It evokes the very sensation in you.
The various scenes throughout the movie vary wildly in theme and mood. While Amelie’s revenge on the callous grocer is classic Dahl’s Matilda almost to the point of villainy, the bar scene with the former tenant is poignant in a way that feels real in this movie. Everything slows down and focuses sharply on this moment. Every scene is presented as a full homage to its particular trope: the aforementioned bar scene with the wake-up call for the bar patron, the life-altering burst of revelation brought to a suicide victim, everything was done with full aplomb. This is a movie that runs at full pace nonstop but it still treats each and every scene with absolute care and delight. And while the more quirky scenes tend to be peppered throughout the film, it is the conversations with the neighbor that paints the restaurant scene every year where the film shines best. It is clear who the girl with the glass is, and in discussing her Amelie is establishing who she is to herself. She’s finally able to grow as a person.
But one of the best scenes filled with the most feeling is when you discover the secret of the neutral-faced man. It’s absolutely gratifying.