Amelie (Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain) (2001)

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First one of those disclaimers that appear occasionally

First a note. As some have noted, some of the reviews on this site have been moved from older media and it often dates them in both attitude and current cultural mores.

I may no longer feel the same way about rustlers, cutthroats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswagglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers, and Methodists. And I certainly would not express such thoughts in today’s climate on social media.

Though in my (and everyone else’s) defense, some of these minefields are not navigable and have no winners. Native Americans actually prefer the term Indian (Or their actual tribe name) but if you use Indian, then a bunch of very well-meaning people will screech like a mermaid on a barbecue grill.

Trans language is another minefield. Using transgender, transsexual, gender-queer (GQ), gender-fluid, non-binary, gender-variant, cross-dresser, genderless, agender, non-gender, third gender, bi-gender, trans man, trans woman, trans masculine, trans feminine and neutrois can either mean you are progressive or worse than Hitler depending on who you are talking to.

There was a serious movement a while back to use a neutral word that I can’t recall and for all the power of Google can’t find. (It wasn’t Intersex, which is something different, but it was very close to that word) and to declare any who used the “T” word to be a horrible person. But I see that movement has passed and clearly been forgotten.

But this isn’t one of “those disclaimers”

Here is the place I usually explain that I no longer feel that way about X and I certainly would never use such phrasing today. But there is another reason to have such a disclaimer than to explain away the various Bravo jokes in my Al Pacino’s Cruising review.

Sometimes I change my mind about movies. I first saw Galaxy Quest twenty years ago and honestly hated it. I have no idea why. I recently watched it and found it delightful and funny. I tell everyone I just didn’t get Rushmore (a topic that comes up frequently as people keep naming that as one of their favorite films) but I haven’t seen that in twenty years either and who knows how I would feel if I watched it today.

This doesn’t always work, mind you. Multiple viewings of Donnie Darko has still failed to make me a member of the fan club. Perhaps it is nostalgia for an earlier time or the simple fact we are different people than we were twenty years ago. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for an “x” style of movie at the time. Or maybe I was in a bad or distracted place when I watched it. So there is hope for The Hotel New Hampshire or The Piano, and there is for Amelie. I didn’t care much for Amelie in my review below. I am not confident if I watched it again if I would necessarily feel the same way.

Is Amelie French for Overrated

Amelie (2001): 6 out of 10: Sweet, light and sometimes a little irritating, this strangely adult fable starts out very strong and sinks under the weight of it’s too cute for words protagonist and her self-made predicament. Amelie is a strange bird indeed. She seems initially one of those wonderfully original creations, but as time in the movie marches on, it becomes obvious. She is a twelve-year-old girl in a woman’s body. 

Yup, she has silly crushes, plays silly pranks and has a vivid imagination. In fact, one could very much see her being played by a twelve-year-old. This would work perfectly if the movie wasn’t so jarringly adult in other ways. (Amelie’s quest works in a sex shop, people having hook-up sex in a daytime café) 

It is more of a tone issue than any objection to adult content. (As a glance at most of my other reviews will testify.) Also like most twelve-year-olds, Amelie pulls pranks and games a little too long. (After the 2-hour mark or so, I was practically screaming at the screen to get on with it) 

Now don’t get me wrong, the first hour or so is a delightful screen experience. I loved the traveling gnome (which started a fad that lives on today) and liked the obsessive tape recording man in café.

It also shows an authentic fantasy version of Paris like You’ve You Mail’s New York. In fact, when Amelie is helping others rather than on her own quest, the movie seems to move briskly and with purpose. 

It is only in her pursuit of love that Amelie fails as both a person and a movie. Just like most twelve-year-old girls.

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[…] Darko (2001): 6 out of 10: Some movies just pass me right by. I found Amélie by the end more irritating than cute; I didn’t laugh once at Rushmore, and only a hostage […]