Friday, February 25, 2005


Okay, I give up. Go ahead and grab the pitchforks and the torches, because you've got me. I'm a heretic. I didn't really like Amelie all that much. I don't blame it for not being deep or meaningful-- it wasn't that sort of film, and it's not fair to expect anything like that of it. And maybe no movie could have lived up to the hype it generated. It's just that for a lighthearted, silly comedy, it didn't seem all that terribly lighthearted or silly.

Amelie herself seems more like a creature to be pitied than one to be admired. Growing up in an essentially loveless household, her life doesn't seem so much grown inward, as most of Roald Dahl's young heroes and heroines do, as stunted altogether. She has managed to become a reasonably cheerful adult, but her life seems rather lonely. Instead of going out with friends or seeing a movie or perhaps a show, she spies on the old painter across the alley from her. Her love interest (he's not really a boyfriend for any appreciable amount of screen time) is, frankly, more autistic than artistic. Her job is filled with unpleasant people-- occasionally a few that aren't so bad, but those seem more the exception than the rule. All in all, she seems to spend about as much time playing tricks on her obnoxious neighbourhood grocer than in her quest to do nice things for people.

The message of the movie, to me, seemed to be, "Come to terms with your limitations and find what little happiness you can in there, because life will suck all the same no matter what you do. Oh, and don't try to expand past your limitations, because you can't. Get used to this life, it's all you get."

I fully appreciate that I am a Philistine, a Neo-Luddite, and a Bad Person(™). I just can't enjoy this film. It's not that I don't like European, or even French, cinema. City of the Lost Children is one of my favourite movies, as is Run Lola Run. Though there does seem to be a slightly darker current of existential despair and resignation in most European movies-- even the comedies are darker-- than in most American films. This is okay for most movies, because, frankly, most movies could use a slight dash of anti-pollyanna-ism. But for this movie, which appeared to want to hard to be light and fluffy, it just weighed it down, rather than grounding it.

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