Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus

Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
November 16, 2001

Movies have been in need of an enchantress – the supply has run dangerously low. Now we have one. Audrey Tautou is her name, and you'll want to remember it. In the role of Amélie, a waitress in a Paris cafe, the twenty-three-year-old Tautou is utterly captivating. Ditto the movie. There's magic in it.

A few selection-committee snobs at film festivals in Cannes and New York wrote off Amélie as a fluff ball and foolishly shut it out of competition. The plot may be gossamer, but no way is director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who co-wrote the script with Guillaume Laurant, a slave to Hollywood formula. If you caught Jeunet's Delicatessen, a 1991 comedy about cannibalism, or The City of Lost Children, a 1995 fantasy about stolen dreams, or even his flawed Hollywood film, 1997's Alien: Resurrection, you already know the director is a thrilling visual stylist.

With Jeunet, you must expect the unexpected. Early in Amélie, a suicide leaps from a building and lands on Amélie's hapless mother, killing her flat. No wonder Amélie is cautious about life. It doesn't help that her father, a man obsessed with garden gnomes, has misdiagnosed her with a weak heart. Amélie observes life at a distance, that is, until she finds of box of toys in her apartment and decides to find the owner – now a grown man. The owner is overjoyed and Amélie, watching in secret, begins her life as a mender of broken hearts. Nothing too goody-goody; she also sticks it to the wicked. More crucially, she falls in love with a man, Nino (Mathieu Kassovitz), who haunts photo booths to make art out of the discarded pictures. Nino is Amélie's kind of guy, though she's too shy to say hello.

Only a spoilsport would give away Amélie's secrets, or the event that brings her and Nino together. But as Jeunet and the brilliant cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel spin the camera around Paris, from Montmartre to Notre Dame, it's hard not to fall under the spell of this moonstruck romance.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Hungry Like the Wolf”

    Duran Duran | 1982

    This indulgent New Romantic group generated their first U.S. hit with the help of what was at the time new technology. "Simon [Le Bon] and I, I think, had been out the night before and had this terrible hangover," said keyboardist Nick Rhodes. "For some reason we were feeling guilty about it and decided to go and do some work." Rhodes started playing with his Jupiter-8 synth, and then "Simon had an idea for a lyric, and by lunchtime when everyone else turned up, we pretty much had the song." The Simmons drumbeat was equally important to the sound of "Hungry Like the Wolf," as Duran Duran drummer Roger Taylor stated it "kind of defined the drum sound for the Eighties."

    More Song Stories entries »