Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain

The charming Amélie, already a hit in its native France, is bound to capture people hearts and imaginations with its whimsical fable. Its color-drenched view of Paris and stylistic camera work is a visual treat. But the most engaging aspect is the performance of 23-year-old Audrey Tautou as a kindhearted, shy waitress whose interior life is much more compelling than her day-to-day existence. After her mother dies and her father withdraws with grief, Amélie retreats into solitude.

But after discovering a box of childhood treasures hidden behind a loose brick in her wall and returning it to the rightful owner, Amélie becomes crazy with the power of anonymously intervening in people's lives.

The movie becomes a modern-day fairy tale. Its heroine, part cloistered princess and part knight in shining armor, even bears a bit of a resemblance to Joan of Arc — though she dresses in Doc Maartens and thrift-store fashions. And instead of battling, she orchestrates — behind-the-scenes and unbeknownst to the people involved. She inspires an elderly eccentric artist, avenges the victim of a cruel bully, spurs her father to take his first vacation and convinces a downcast widow that her philandering husband truly loved her. Inspired by an appreciation for senseless beauty, she impulsively links her arm with that of a blind man and provides a running commentary on the sights around him, then scampers off to perform more good deeds.

But her focus on bettering the lives of others (some might call it meddling) keeps Amélie from facing her own growing loneliness. She exchanges glances in a Metro station with a handsome eccentric (Mathieu Kassovitz); he is intrigued, but she lacks the confidence to approach him directly. Tautou is the very definition of gamine: Her smile is impish, her dark eyes resonate with warmth and sly intelligence, and she has the coltish grace of a young Audrey Hepburn.

Equally enchanting is director Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Paris; his affection for his Montmartre neighborhood is palpable. We see it as Amélie, the dreamer, must see it — a romanticized City of Light, all dramatic skies and glimmering days. Composer Yann Tierson's evocative score is lovely, lilting and bittersweet.

critic by : Zulfadhli Bin Abdul Malik a.ka. imaJOEnation

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