Throughout the early millennium, college students and hipsters alike felt a strong affinity with the film Amelie. Despite the largely positive and eager excitement from most audience members, looking back at the movie now a viewer can see how heavy-handed and obnoxious the movie really is. Not only are the characters poorly developed, but the director, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, is so interested in impressing the audience with a ravaging of obvious and obnoxious sequences that the film itself becomes a treatise on the cleverness of the filmmakers.
Amelie concerns the attempts of an impish waitress to make the world a better place through random acts of kindness. Not only is this plot device straight out of an episode of Oprah but the way it is handled is through imposing and silly voice-overs that are more suited for a third-person novel than a fictionalized film. With so much voice-over work, the characters are degraded to petty quirks and lists of “likes and dislikes” as opposed to actual development.
Amelie’s director Jean-Pierre Jeunet Throws Up on Screen
To make matters worse, Amelie’s director Jean-Pierre Jeunet relies on a saturation of reds and greens throughout every frame. This makes Paris (the setting) seem like the unholy union between Satan and the Green Giant. The symbolism is over the top and the camera-angles veer from the obtrusive to the annoying, like when every face is so close to the camera as to appear through fish-eyed lenses.
Amelie’s star Audrey Tatou is Really Annoying
Amelie’s worst quality, by far, though, is not just Jean-Pierre Jeunet, but also Audrey Tatou’s absolute ridiculous sweetness throughout the film. While many people found her innocence cute, the saccharine ness of her smile and personality not only wears thin but comes across as grating and sadistic. It’s almost like being forced to eat a pound of raw sugar with only a rusty spoon. Her hair is made up to be a variation on a flip with strong black pieces swooping up, out of place, reminiscent of the snakes on Medusa’s head. Amelie’s face is almost alabaster, with strong red lipstick, and, of course, most violent of all, that impish grin border lining on the psychotic. Watching her flounce and prance her way through the Disney World-like (yet more garish) streets of Paris is akin to finding an old broken baby doll that won’t stop eerily slithering “I wuv you” in a disordered, massacred robotic voice.
Amelie is a cherished movie in some circles, but viewers with a keen eye and any type of taste will find the antics of this deliriously giddy young woman both obnoxious and borderline hateful. Avoid this attempt at “art” at any cost possible.