Posted on December 13, 2002 at 5:17 am
“AmÃ©lie” is filled with whimsical charm the way that a chocolate soufflÃ© is filled with air.
AmÃ©lie (Audrey Tatou) grows up the lonely child of parents who do not know how to show their love for her. She becomes a thoughtful, quiet, observant girl who decides to change the lives of those around her, opening hearts to the adventure that is waiting for them, taking revenge on a cruel grocer, bringing together a couple who are afraid to show their longing for each other, and bringing the outside world to a reclusive painter and to her own father. But will she do for herself what she has done for others and find love with the mysterious collector of rejected photo booth pictures? And who is the “ghost” who appears in so many of the torn photos?
Writer-director Jean-Pierre Jeunet gives the story a feeling somewhere between fairy tale and documentary. His behind-the-scenes glimpses of the characters’ likes and dislikes – from cleaning out a toolbox and getting fingers pruny in the bath to sticking a hand in a barrel of grain and cracking the sugar on a crÃ¨me brulÃ©e — are deliciously particular and somehow very touching. Audrey Tatou is just right as AmÃ©lie, a perfect gamine in a Lulu haircut.
Parents should know while the movie is like a fairy tale, there are some graphic moments. One character works in a porn shop, and we see him surrounded by sex toys. There are comic but explicit sexual situations. There is a reference to suicide and a child’s mother is killed in an accident.
Families who see this movie should talk about why AmÃ©lie wants to help people from a distance and is reluctant to show herself to the man who attracts her. Why do so many people need outside help to find happiness? Is there someone you would like to help?
Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy another Parisian fantasy, Zazie Dans Le Metro.