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Amelie (2001)
Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz

Ah, Amelie. How I already miss her. The bat of an eyelash, the quirky smile. Juenet has done it again. Putting the sci-fi on the shelf this time, Juenet brings us a wonderful story about a young french waitress who is about as shy as they get. She works is a small cafe' near her flat in Paris, and you may be wondering just why this girl would be interesting or filmworthy at all. Well, it is not what she does for a living or her ravishing good looks (although she is quite charming and alluring in her cute little way). Amelie notices people, lonely people. From her depressed father to a hermetic painter with a rare bone disorder (although not too rare, as a character in another film from the same year suffered the same ailment), Amelie takes it upon her self to change these people's lives for the better.

Not long after starting her little mission of the heart, she gets caught up in the lives of the people she has chosen to help, and becomes involved in a little mystery of her own. AA lost backpack with a well-cared for but unique photo collection draw her to an enigmatic man who has been visiting the photo booths in train stations and other public areas, only to tear his photo's up and throw them to the ground. She make's it her personal goal to find this man whop seems so unhappy learn more about him. Soon she is faced with her own failings in life and we the viewers begin to see that Amelie also needs some new direction, and we are on the journey to achieve this with her. We can not help but go along for the ride....

Another masterwork from Jeunet. That is what springs to my mind whenever I think about this film. It's been a few weeks since I watched it, but the film is still fresh in my mind. The sets, the direction, the acting, the atmosphere. Everything comes together and just works to bring the viewer into Amelie's heart and mind. The clever ways that Amelie helps people are heartwarming and funny, while still carrying an important message that Juenet made sure was present at all times, that even people with a heavy weight upon their shoulders can have the burden lightened with the smallest of thoughts or actions. She brings her father, who is in a funk of depression and suffers from a tremendous lack of motivation back into life with an extremely clever, but simple idea that she has to put very little effort into at all. She also exacts a little justice on a mean-spirited grocer who really does deserve it

As with most Jeunet pieces, the production design is incredibly creative, with original ideas and images appearing at every turn. This has to be one of the most well-crafted feel good pieces I have ever seen, and I am usually not a fan of the genre. I would have to say it could be one of the best films, period, that I have ever seen. The impression it leaves is priceless and this movie can turn any glum morning into a cheery afternoon. I have neglected to mention some of the plot points and mechanics used in the film, because I would hate to ruin any of the surprises this film has in store for any of you folks who haven't seen it yet. So run out and rent/buy Amelie! I can't recommend it enough and I doubt it would disappoint anyone.

I give this film an A, or 5 boxes of popcorn, chock full.