Tag Archives: amélie poulain

The Best Movies of the Decade (Part II)

The top five. Somewhat easier to choose, but equally difficult to put in order. Except for the number one.

So far, we have:

10. Intermission (2003)
9. Children of Men (2006)
8. Atonement (2007)
7. 28 Days Later (2002)
6. The Triplets of Belleville (2003)

The Best Movies of the Decade (Part I)

5. Gosford Park (2001)

It is, arguably, one of the best Altman films, and certainly my favourite. To say I liked the directing, the ensemble cast, the camera work, would be a waste of time, because these things go without saying. But there’s more to Gosford Park than the technical perfection, and those are the characters: every single one of them. And the story; it really makes you think about the fall of the high class back in those days.
Personal story: There isn’t a particularly personal story about this, except the fact I loved the way story unfolded. What secured this film in the top 5 was Helen Mirren in one of her last scenes (“my boy, my boy”). I remember watching the movie at night, and I had to jump and sit on my bed while watching it. One of those perfect, unique movie moments.

4. Breakfast on Pluto (2005)

This film is horribly underrated, and it’s a crime. I really don’t understand why: it’s simply amazing. I guess some people thought the world didn’t need another Neil Jordan’s story about IRA and transvestites. What a shame; Breakfast on Pluto is a gem. And the true heart of the movie is Kitten. She is such a lovable, amazing, complex character. Her world is unique, and so is her story. She’s one of those characters who simply make a story interesting, and also make you want to hug her and protect her.
Personal story: I got really attached to Kitten, and not just because I think she was an interesting character. To me, she was real. She reminds me a lot on my grandmother (not the part about transvestites, but the way a person deals with the problems). She had the same obsessively optimistic view of the world, as a way of surviving the reality. She was sometimes over the top, and it was often both tiring and annoying, but it’s not like I don’t understand how it happened. So it’s easy for me to understand Kitten.

3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

This movie is haunting and wonderful on so many levels. Too bad it suffers from some hype backlash. Ok, maybe it wasn’t the best film in cinematic history as some people claimed, but hey, I do find it to be excellent. It was sure a great cinematic experience for me. And I’m one of those people who dislike films dealing with male/female relationships. But this one took an unique approach to it, or managed to film it an an intriguing way. This film just takes you, and once you realize what’s going on, you are fascinated. Definitely one of the best movies of the decade.
Personal story: I remember watching this movie with my husband in 2005. It was winter and I felt really strange, everything around (the streets, the buildings) seemed so strange when we walked out. I like when a movie makes me think about it long after the credits.

2. All or Nothing (2002)

Mike Leigh is probably my favourite director. I like everything this man ever filmed. His movies are like no other. And while he had some strong movies this decade (Vera Drake, for example), All or Nothing is the one that had the most profound effect on me. Arguably, it’s not one of his best works, and in a way, it offers nothing new; and still, it’s perfect, perfect.

The story is simple (yet full of complexities), and the acting is superb. There’s no such thing as bad acting in any Mike Leigh’s films, but I really loved performances in this one. This especially goes for Timothy Spall and Lesley Manville. I think I’d say Lesley’s performance was one of the best female performances of the decade. The woman is such an amazing actress, one of the best I’ve seen, and she was so good in this. Such an underrated movie and an underrated performance. It’s a shame. The film is not an easy watch (it’s Mike Leigh after all), but it’s so good.
Personal story: Like I said, Mike Leigh. I love this man’s work. I love the way he deals with serious, difficult subjects, and still finds hope. Almost all of his films have this note at the end, something that gives you hope. All or Nothing is not an exception. It made me feel good, and I am still not sure how, given the serious nature of the film. That’s filmmaking.

1. Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain (2001)

Where do I start? How do I start? My love for this film is profound, and I don’t care about the hype, or the hype backlash. It’s one of my favourite movies, and the fact it’s a really good film is just one of the reasons. I like everything about it, its tone, its quirkiness, its characters, its atmosphere, its story. Everything.
Personal story: Like I said, I love everything about this film. But it’s my favourite movie of the decade because it gave me hope when I was so lonely, and it was something I really needed at the time.

The Best Movie Characters of the Decade

Remember I promised my “decade” posts? Well, it’s the end of December, so I guess it’s the right time for them. I guess most of them will be film related, not because I don’t read or listen music, but because the books I read and music I listen are, most of the time, created in the previous decades.

Oh, and btw, the decade started in 2001, so these all cover 2001-2010 period.

An important note: I put “the best” in title because it’s short… But it’s actually my favourite characters, regardless of their actual quality or the opinion other people have about them.

5. Joker

The best thing about “The Dark Knight” (and the only good thing about it, besides Gary Oldman with a mustache). And while a lot of the hype was generated after Ledger’s death, it would be unfair to say the character (or performance) didn’t deserve it. Joker was unique and a whole world for himself, and you could just feel there was always more about this character than meets the eye.

The best thing about him: The air of mystery, and the fact will probably never know the whole story, just add to the appeal.
The worse thing: While certainly memorable, one must admit part of the hype is due to Ledger’s death, so it’s impossible to determine exactly how much of an impact would character otherwise have.
Personal story: This is the only character on the list I don’t have a personal connection with; I put him solely because he’s really memorable on himself. The only thing I could share is the fact he made an otherwise overrated movie watchable for me.

4. Juno

What is great about Juno is that she is, obviously, not a realistic character… Yes she does seem like one. Sadly, there are not many female characters like her in media these days, particularly not those who encounter the problems she had in the movie. Juno has a perfect mix of a tomboyish charm and femininity.
The best thing about her: She is unique, and yet, it’s easy to identify with her.
The worst thing: Hype backlash. While Juno is certainly an adorable character, she is not as great as people claimed at one point.
Personal story: I admit it, one of the main reasons I like Juno is… She looks and acts like me. A lot. (Minus the teenage pregnancy thing). Some people don’t notice this, but it’s really rare to see a tomboy character who is, well, chose to how tomboy girls really are. So yes, you could say I got attached to the character a lot.

3. Jack Sparrow

Hands down, he’s my favourite male character of the decade. The fact he’s played by Johnny Depp (who I admired and… admired (if you know what I mean) for more than a decade). Jack Sparrow was so beautifully over the top and he stole the show in a second (remember, Pirates of the Caribbean were supposed to be all about Will and Elisabeth!)

The best thing about him: He made the world realize Johny Depp’s greatness. Way too much, perhaps. (To the point I miss his earlier, indie roles).
The worst thing: Lame sequels. The character got old fast.
Personal story: It was the summer of 2003 and I was really lonely. It sounds pretty lame, but Johnny Depp in heavy makeup sure made me feel a little better!

2. Kitten

A transgendered orphan on a search for mother, love and acceptance, who gets to meet many people (IRA members are just for start), but holds onto her unique world. It’s impossible not to like Kitten and hope she’ll be alright. Sometimes you cringe at her need to ignore the bad things, but at the end, you can’t help but liking her.

The best thing about her: Her innocence and optimism. Admittedly, sometimes it’s way too much, but you can’t help but like her and hope the things would eventually turn good for her.
The worst thing: Breakfast on Pluto was a fantastic film, but it wasn’t for everyone, so not many people got to see Kitten.
Personal story: I am really attached to this character because she reminds me of my grandmother (minus the transgender part). My grandmother had the same optimism, born out of despair. A lot of bad things happened to her (both of her sons died, for example), so she just learned to shut herself from the horrors around.

She was always smiling and talking about stuff such as clothes and makeup (she loved pink and funny music). It was annoying, this optimism of hers, because she was often blind to the real world around her, but it’s not like one fails to understand how she came to be like that. So it’s impossible to watch Kitten and not to see her in the character.

1. Amélie Poulain

My favourite character of the decade. I could dedicate several posts to her and the impact this movie had on me.
The best thing about her: She is unique, maybe even quirky, but it’s easy to relate to her.
The worst thing: Once again, the hype backlash. After the initial praise for the film and the character, people got a bit tired of Amélie. But it doesn’t mean she’s not a fantastic character.
Personal story: I’ve watched this film in 2002, during a lonely summer. Watching Amélie gave me so much hope. I’ve never seen a movie character so close to what I really was, whatever that meant. So Amélie has a special place in my heart.

Honorable mentions: Briony (Atonement), Sinéad (The Wind that Shakes the Barley), Gandalf (The Lord of the Rings), Sherlock Holmes, Snape (Harry Potter series).