Never mind that it's a French romantic comedy by description--if you liked DELICATESSEN, CITY OF LOST CHILDREN or ALIEN RESURRECTION, you'll want to see AMELIE, because director Jean-Pierre Jeunet can transform absolutely anything into an enchanting fantasy.

I get a little tired of people praising this one by way of blasting his earlier films (especially A.R., my personal favorite of the ALIEN sequels), but they're right on the mark when they recommend it. I challenge anyone here to sit through the first fifteen minutes and not want to see the movie the rest of the way through.

Plot? Simple. After a (bizarrely) troubled childhood, our heroine (Audrey Tautou as an adult) searches for a purpose to her own life. A red herring arrives in the death of Princess Diana (some characters obsess over her, but she means nothing to the story), which startles Amelie into a peculiar discovery: one that inspires her to bring happiness to as many people as she can as her life's work. The story sure SOUNDS simple, doesn't it--but wait till you see how complicated she decides to make it!

There's no horror, violence or dark fantasy here at all--though some nicely twisted humor is often put to work and plenty of innovative visual effects are utilized to illustrate the effect of Amelie's work on all that it touches. But I'm surprised that noone else (so far) has noticed the film's similarity to UNBREAKABLE... not only does the central character discover herself as a (kind of) superhero (she even does the "Zorro" thing at one point)--but a key supporting character is known as the "Glass Man," thanks to his brittle bones! (No sinister surprise ending here, but he DOES figure significantly into things.)

Take a chance on this one--it may not be the sort of film you usually venture out to see, but it was my life as a horror/fantasy fan that drew me to the director's work to begin with--I say again that if you liked any of Jeunet's previous films, you'll want to see AMELIE.

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