J'aime Amélie

There are three movies I've seen twice, in the theater, during the same weekend:

1. "Truly, Madly, Deeply"
2. "Amadeus"
3. "Amélie"

To be fair, I saw "Amadeus" twice on the same day. I begged my mom to drive me back to the theater for the very next showing, which she did, because my mom is awesome.

And I KNOW. I wasn't nearly old enough to drive yet and yet I wanted to spend an entire afternoon with an 18th-century composer and his plotting professional rival. If you're new here and you're like, "huh, I wonder what the writer of the Wilfair series is like, behind her blog" this is pretty much all you need to know in a nutshell: Very young teen, ornate costumes, classical music, "pleeeease, Mom, I need to see it AGAIN."

(Really, I wasn't spoiled and rarely asked for much. But when I did it was usually of the "I want to live in the 18th century and carry a hand fan and wear hoop skirts" ilk. Oh, my patient, patient parents.) 

Going to the second showing of "Amadeus," by the way, made me late for a babysitting gig that night. The only time I was every late to a babysitting job. Ever. (Sorry, Mrs. Tharp, if you happen to find me here. Still feel guilty. But, Mozart! Dreeeeeeamy!)


So, onto "Amélie," a movie I love so much I'm delaying even starting a conversation about it because I can't even begin. I can't. Where does one start? The marvelous cinematography? The colors? The characters? Audrey Tautou? Mathieu Kassovitz? The film's unapologetic joie de vivre and its impish spirit and its profound madcappery and all of the wonderfully outlandish situations?

I love it all. I love the garden gnome, the editing, the costumes, the photo booth -- the photo booth! -- her neighbor, her apartment, and the gentle magical realism resting upon everything, like some diaphanous scarf draped across a piano top.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand the emotion-filled soundtrack. Gold stars for you, Yann Tiersen. 

Basically this film, like all three films listed at top, were and are life-changing works for me. "A Room with a View" is also a life-changing movie, but I loved the book first, so that is a different post.

What's your favorite "Amélie" bit? Or, if this movie doesn't do it for you, what film have you seen twice in a weekend (or even a day) in the theater?


Caitlin #1 said...

I watched "Amelie" for the first time when I was a freshman in college. I watched it three times that weekend (maybe four). And then I bought it.

It is my #1 favorite movie. I watch it when I'm happy. I watch it when I'm sad. (I would watch it on a train. I would watch it in the rain.) I can't pick a favorite bit. Everything.

Wilfair Book said...

Those are keepers, the films and books and songs we turn to when we're happy and/or sad. They're our forever stuff!

Also, your three (maybe four) viewings over one weekend completely trumps my two. I bow before you.

Victoria Smith said...

Hey Alysia! *waves* I LOVE Amelie. Haven't seen it in years, but it was awesome Audrey T. is so stunning. Love her in that!

Jamila said...

When Amelie first sees Nino and we zoom in to see her heart pumping. Exactly what falling in love feels like.

I also have a soft spot for any part with Lucien (Jamel Debbouze, who was all over Moroccan TV when I lived there from 99-01).

Nikki said...

Don't forget the narration! The fun matter-of-fact storytelling that reads like a fairy tale. It's all so charming. (It's also this detail that makes me put Pushing Daisies into a similar brain-folder.)

Kelly said...

I also once convinced my mum to drive me back to the cinema to see a movie twice in one day! But it was to a considerably less cool movie (Coyote Ugly - my love for Adam Garcia knows no bounds. Have you ever seen him Tap Dance?!?).

I've only seen Amelie once, and it was at about 3am, so I don't think I really paid it my full attention. I've been meaning to give it a second chance forever, and I think all the enthusiasm here may finally have convinced me to bump it up to the top of my list.

Wilfair Book said...

Victoria: Awww. So great when you pop by to say hello. Thanks! Hugs your way.

Lady J: YES. That's exactly what it feels like. And wait. How do I not know this? You lived abroad? I want to know more. Delicious details. And LUCIEN. He's in a new movie that looks intriguing. Must get the name, just saw a trailer.

Nikki: So true. The narration! It whimsies-up any story. I can hear that narrator's staccato voice now, in my head, just sitting here.

Kelly: I clapped when I read the words "Coyote Ugly." Just so you know. And no, I have NOT seen "Tap Dance" but I probably should, right?

I just love that you were up at 3 a.m. watching a film. That's actually a fine idea for a post. What have we watched overnight? I have one I need to discuss. We probably all do.

Kelly said...

Ha I meant tap dance generically, because he's a really really good dancer. I don't know if there is a specific 'Tap Dance', and am confused about why my phone decided to add capital letters (I'm fairly sure it wasn't me, or maybe I was just feeling like tap dancing deserved the capitals when I commented!).

There was a whole spell at uni where I watched a lot of late night movies, because there was a really great motown night at a club in town every Thursday that ended at around 3. That semester I had an evil professor who insisted on holding a mandatory tutorial every Friday at 6.30am. My friend and I came to the conclusion that we actually functioned better if we stayed up all night and crashed after the lesson, so we'd head back to one of our flats and eat junk food, drink coffee and watch a couple of films until it was time for class. I definitely couldn't do it now, but at the time it seemed like the only valid option!

do dah said...

Kelly -- Is Adam Garcia in a Terrible Dance Movie? Please say yes! Basically all dance movies are terrible,* and they are also my favorite guilty pleasure. Except that I'm not guilty about it.

I have only seen Amelie once, and remember liking it, but don't really remember it. I'll eventually watch it again. I've been trying to remember all week, and I honestly think the only movies I have potentially seen multiple times in a row are by Mel Brooks (this is telling). And maybe, maybe the Princess Bride. Because 90s Cary Elwes? Sigh.

* apparently there is a Gregory Hines movie that is legitimately good, and also a dance movie. I have never seen it. It is not the one with Baryshnikov (but I did get to see Baryshnikov dance once in person, and even in his mid-50s, dude could LEAP. super amazing).

Wilfair Book said...

Kelly: "mandatory tutorial every Friday at 6:30am." What? I mean, please. I'm a morning person but this boggles the mind. I think you and your friend made the right choice.

I can generally make it to midnight and getting up early is no problem, but 1 to 4 a.m. is no woman's land for me. So obviously I'm into stories of people staying up and doing interesting things because then I can live vicariously.

Oh snap! I just remembered two books that have people staying up at those hours doing stuff. They're on this site, too!

I just Googled Adam Garcia. Oh yes I did. I'll watch some dance videos by the next time we speak.

do dah: I want you to come over tonight and give "White Nights" another try. Please. Not only does it star Baryshnikov and Hines but Helen Mirren. HELEN. MIRREN. Who is SUPREME in it. You can learn to love it again. Let me help you.

Gregory Hines. Amazing man. Acting, dancing, everything. Let's hold a Gregory Hines festival after "White Nights."

I saw Baryshnikov dance, too! Along with Mark Morris, who was amazing. I do remember a pretty saucy dance from the night. Two dancers I didn't know. Hoo boy. I still get sweaty-browed thinking of it. There were some pretty outstanding and obvious references to various ways of. How would Fair Finley put it? Making love.

Good stuff.

bess said...

I'm late to the commenting party but I just want to echo the love for Amelie - probably on my top ten list of favorites movies and perhaps #1 on my list of movies I would like to live inside. Has anyone seen "Chungking Express", a Wong Kar Wai movie from the mid-90s? I watched it again last night and was struck with how Faye Wong's character has some proto Amelie qualities. The movie is a real delight, if you have not seen it.

And dance movies? I love any and all(including, but not limited to Step Up 3 and Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights) As someone with little to know dancing ability I'm in awe of even the cheesiest dance moves.

Wilfair Book said...

Ohhhh, "Chungking Express." YES. I've been meaning to rewatch that and this is just the reminder for me.

I haven't seen either of those dance movies but I intend to change that. Dance on film is an instant happy-maker for me!

bess said...

After I wrote that comment, I watched Chungking Express again - it is better than I remembered (Tony Leung - swoon!)

I'm not necessarily recommending watching Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights but if you do, you must track down the This American Life episode about the screenplay, it is hilarious! This talks about it:

Kelly said...

do dah - Adam Garcia IS in a terrible dance movie! I actually didn't know about it until this discussion prompted me to do some IMDBing, because it seemed like he should have been in a dance movie, but I couldn't think of any. The movie is called Bootmen, and it's about some steel mill workers who form a tap dancing group. So basically it's my new favourite film, even though I haven't seen it yet (DVD has been ordered!).

Dance movies are like my drug, I am completely powerless to resist. Even the terrible ones (especially the terrible ones). Stomp the Yard, Centre Stage, and all the Step-Up's are some of my favourite hangover viewing.

bess said...


Center Stage is awesome! When I first saw it in college with friends, we watched it and rewound it and watched it again. Whenever I see Zoe Saldana in another movie, I think "Well done, Eva Rodriguez!"

Wilfair Book said...

Bess: Tony Leung. Oh goodness YES. Swoon, indeed!

Kelly: This is one of the best things you've ever said here at Wilfair HQ, and you've said a lot of really good stuff. So you know I mean this compliment deeply!

***So basically it's my new favourite film, even though I haven't seen it yet (DVD has been ordered!).***

Ha ha ha! I pre-like things I haven't even read or seen yet, too! And then suddenly I'm talking about them like I'm an expert. What? Yeah, I do that. All. The. Time.

bess said...

Kelly - I just saw that Bootmen is on HBO Go! It's on my to-do list for the weekend now.

Kelly said...

Haha thanks Alysia! I definitely do this a lot, I get really attached to films in advance based on reviews/trailers etc, and then if it doesn't live up to expectations I get all outraged about it. I'm feeling pretty confident about my premature affection for Bootmen though! Bess - you'll probably get to see it before I do, my dvd hasn't turned up yet.

Also, I totally do that with Zoe Saldana too - go all "Yay Eva!" whenever I see her in things. She's come a long way from Center Stage and Crossroads. Related note - why has noone adapted the final ballet from Center Stage into a real thing yet!?

do dah said...

tap dancing steel workers? i'm IN! although i may have billy elliot expectations, and nothing can be quite as absurdly wonderful as billy elliot. although i think i actually found most of it depressing and thought he looked sad in the swan lake scene? whatever.

that ballet from center stage. it. i can't. it is goofily iconic, but the combination of spinning costume change and motorcycle make me want to explode. i think i would've liked center stage a thousand times more if main blonde ballet prodigy man weren't so terrifically creeeeeeeeeeepy. definitely loved zoe saldana in it, though. she's pretty great.

i might have to vote "girls just wanna have fun" for my favorite dance movie, though, just on the strength of helen hunt's dinosaur headband. how did i make it through the 80s without one of those? i HAD those glow in the dark dinosaurs, and i had headbands, but i never thought to combine them!

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