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August 24, 2010

Amélie (2001)
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Actors: Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Dominique Pinon

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Synopsis: A whimsical girl, in a magic-like Paris, finds love and helps solve the problems of others.

Review: Amélie’s cinematic box of tricks and cutesy narrative may have lots of admirers but I’m not one of them. Finding director Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s endless conceits too insistent by half; it’s like watching the work of an impressionable young schoolboy continually trying to show off to his parents with his latest toys. Admittedly, a couple of Jeunet’s ‘skits’ are witty and clever (I enjoyed the idea that programmes on Amélie’s TV – including old socialist-realist footage of Stalin – act as narration on her own life). However, that is offset by numerous and pointless plot obfuscations and a general air of cloying tweeness. Amélie, the central protagonist, symbolises these flaws, coming across more as a cipher and vehicle for Jeunet’s maniacal world-view than as any discernible person with real feelings or a recognisable character arc. (April 2009)

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