At twenty hours, fourty three minutes and twelve seconds I arrived at the Arts Picturehouse in Cambridge to see a preview of Amelie. The good thing about seeing previews is the lack of adverts beforehand. I had high hopes for Amelie - its by Jean-Pierre Jeunet who was responsible for City of Lost Children and the trailers showed it being a weird semi-fantasy. My only fear was that Moulin Rouge was so good (and I'de seen that the night before) that I would be dissapointed.
Of course, some things were bound to be good. Audrey Tautou who plays Amelie looks beautiful... I think I'd be willing to say I would be happy with any excuse to watch her for an hour and a half. But it turns out the script is amazingly funny, in an understated but also ludicrous way. I don't know how to explain it - lots of the things that happen, I have seen before in a variety of places (The question, why would a man go to a photo booth, take a picture, then leave ripping the picture up, only to do the same somewhere else the next day? Exchanging foot cream and toothpaste. Suicidal goldfish), but the way they hung together just made them work. Delightful is really the most accurate way to describe it.
Theres a plot - a girl finds she can make other people's lives better by doing small things, but she hides behind these small things and isn't willing to make her life better, until eventually a friend does the sort of things she does to him. The odd thing is, there isn't anything fantastic or supernatural in the film - at least no more fantastic or supernatural than you get from Ally Mcbeal. It isn't a deep plot - it isn't a deep film - its just a film about the way the world ought to be. Feelgood is a description that doesn't really do it justice - this is the sort of film that makes to leave wanting to help old ladies across the road (and kicking yourself if you have the same reaction to the moral of the story as me)
So as it turned out, I wasn't disapointed. Amelie is wonderful. It has been a huge hit in france, and has got a UK release - which for a subtitled film is... astonishing. Five wripped up passport photos out of a possible five and I want an Amelie!