When I first read Fahrenheit 451, there was one part that struck me. A man is persecuted simply for slowing down and enjoying the scenery. He became a victim of today’s fast paced culture. Why is it though that it is so wrong every once in a while to stop, look around, and smell the flowers. Amelie is a film about a woman who realizes the small wonders around her and it is itself a small wonder one must slow down and look at closely to truly enjoy it’s beauty.
The title character Amelie (Audrey Tautou) lives alone and works in a cafe in Paris. She’s no stranger to solitude. Growing up without a mother and with a father who’d barely hug her, Amelie’s only friend became her vivid imagination. While in her apartment one night, she discovers a box of toys from a boy who lived there long ago. She decides to return to it’s rightful owner. Soon, she makes it her goal to help everyone around her have a better life. In the long run the woman who’d rather watch the bug crawling across the wall than the man talking on the movie screen seems to forget the most important thing: herself.
Amelie is the kind of movie that involves patience (much of what it’s message is about). If you get too weirded out after the first 10 minutes than you’re truly missing the finer things in life. This is a movie for the patient, and the patient are truly rewarded.
If you’re not big into foreign films, think of Amelie as a French version of a Wes Anderson film. Like an Anderson movie, we are given a comedy that shows a new perspective on life. It also introduces a cast of quirky characters through their smallest subtleties. Their likes and dislikes are focused on highest. And like any great Anderson movie, it contains spectacular set pieces. Objects are made humans. Colors intensified. Like a friend of mine said, each shot is truly like looking at a beautiful painting. And even if it is like a painting, it doesn’t make anyone less human.
The true greatness of the film is the character Amelie herself. Her humor and outlook on life just might change your’s.
That Amelie evoked in me the ideas of Fahrenheit 451 to The Royal Tenenbaums shows how truly strange, inspired, and imaginative it is. And I’ll throw in a third, one I actually didn’t like too much, Fellini’s 8 1/2. Like 8 1/2 it was almost a search for what life means and where to find it an to find it, you must first evaluate your own existence. Amelie teaches that every once in awhile you can slow down and enjoy the beauty of life in the most unexpected places. And beyond those small wonders surrounding there’s one wonder that’s surely overlooked…yourself. Yes sweet Amelie, you truly appreciate the subtelties of life but why not find a way to make yourself happy?