Amelia: Film Review

Amelia(Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain) was one of the definite highlights of this year's 17th Warsaw International Film Festival. This long awaited feature by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the director of Delicatessen, was a great hit with critics and audiences alike, and has now been released in cinemas across Poland. Amelia is a must-see for all demanding cinemagoers who expect more from a film than merely entertainment. Posters advertising the film claim that the film's heroine, Amelia, could change your life. And this might actually be the case.

Amelia Poulain, played by unknown actress Audrey Tautou, is a French girl working in a café. She leads quite a bizarre life. Her upbringing by her completely misguided parents is a sequence of wayward actions. Bordering on the tragicomical, Amelia lives her childhood and youth separated from other children, which, of course, leaves her more than a little introverted and weird. Nevertheless, the film is not a sad picture of an unfulfilled and miserable existence. On the contrary, Amelia is a cheerful and optimistic character who, what's more, actively spreads her optimism around. By design or not, good things happen to take place in Amelia's environment very rapidly.

Naturally, there are always those who wish to remain unfriendly and rude, who instead of participating in other people's joy and happiness would rather bring misery to them. Well, Amelia is equally inventive and witty in teaching them a lesson as she is dynamic in promoting happiness. And yet, among all this, there remains one person who is excluded from realising her dreams and desires - Amelia herself. So she aims to solve this problem by employing all the unconventional means available.

Apart from the excellent storyline, perfectly supported by impeccable acting, Amelia is, like Delicatessen, an acutely visual feast. The intense and vivid colours form exquisite images, and combine with Amelia's personal charm to make the whole feature visually very seductive. Jeunet's delicate sense of the film's dynamics guarantees you won't feel bored for a moment. Expect the unexpected, for that's just how Amelia is. She shares our hopes, fears and desires. And Amelia's story could likewise happen to anyone. Your life may be ready to change soon as well.

- Jan Majdecki