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5 Movies to Watch After Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amelie (2001)

Image by Katherine Arias from Pixabay

@BGHowzIt asked for movie recommendations for Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amelie (2001). What a delightful movie to revisit. With a kinetic energy and whimsical tone I have come to associate with many French films, Amelie is filled with color, joie de vivre, and just a touch of magic. It presents a solid strategy for interrupting a life of isolation and self-interest: Amelie finds joy in facilitating others' happiness, and that's the kind of inspiration we can all use.

Yann Samuell's Love Me If You Dare (2003)
Like Amelie, Love Me if You Dare, is a movie filled with romance, comedy, and whimsy. As children, Julien and Sophie, both introverts and dreamers at heart, begin a high-stakes game of dare. The two alternate giving each other dares, and if it's accompanied by a small tin box, they have to perform the task or risk losing the one relationship that means more than either of them will admit. Readers will fall in love with their relationship and the idealized way they see one another. The frenetic camera work and colorful world is quite similar in both of these movies.

Luc Besson's Angel-A (2005)
Although Angel-A is black-and-white, and Amelie is in full technicolor, each of these movies posits a worldview of good winning over evil and belief in the the difference one good person can make in this world. After feeling like his luck has run out, Andre decides to kill himself. But the sight of a tall leggy blonde about to do the same halts him in his tracks. Now Angel-A and Andre decide to team up and get Andre out of trouble by clearing his debts. As Andre spends time with Angel-A though, she challenges his assumptions about the kind of person he wants to be. It's a feel-good movie about learning to love yourself and recognizing the things you've had to live without.

Ben Stiller's The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
In both movies, isolated and dissatisfied individuals start a chain of events by taking a brave step outside the norm. Walter Mitty is overlooked at work and is regularly the butt of his co-worker's jokes. Highly imaginative, he often goes into a daze, and during these dazes, he imagines himself the hero of wild adventures. After realizing he has never done anything interesting, he decides to solve a mystery of a missing photo negative, starting on a wild trek across the world to hunt down the elusive Life Magazine photographer, Sean O'Connell. Like Amelie, Walter Mitty is another film that leave you feeling anything is possible.

Mike Leigh's Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)
Although Poppy seems perfectly contented with her life and Amelie has unmet desires, both feel-good movies feature vivacious brunette ladies trying to do good in the world. Poppy is single and good-natured, never letting anything get her down. Ultimately both of these movies are about finding happiness where you are and finding connection with others.

Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge (2001)
While the plot of Moulin Rouge is bittersweet and ultimately tragic when opposed to the feel-good Amelie, both films are saturated with color and energy, at times leaning towards a vaudeville feel. And in many ways, Amelie is filmed like a musical, with lots of close-ups and attention given to facial expressions and body positions. It's a nontraditional match, but they both have the same spirit and a very classic screenplay.

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