Monday, November 7, 2011

Movie Review: Amelie

Amelie is charming look into the rich inner emotional life of its introverted yet highly intelligent, creative and most of all empathetic title character. Played by the gorgeous and talented Audrey Tautou, Amelie wins your heart with her wild fantasies and endearing idiosyncrasies. You are with her all the way as she begins to tentatively interact with the world around her after she boldly decides to better the lives of those around her. The problem is that Amelie has lived her life in isolation, eschewing relationships which have historically only lead to disappointment and choosing instead live inside an illusory world of simple pleasures and delightful daydreams.

She makes friends with the shut-in neighbor with a brittle bone disease and a compulsive need to paint the same Renoir painting over and over, year after year. She tries her hand at matchmaking with unexpected results. She employs practical jokes, starts unfounded rumors, forges documents, and even kidnaps a gnome to serve her philanthropy mission. When she meets a man who seems to be as eccentric as she is, she uses similar tactics, drawing him into a complex game that only her true equal would not only play, but win.

Amelie is one of the few films that manages to be whimsical and heart-warming without being cheesy or heavy handed. The subtitle of the film translates to “the fabulous destiny of Amelie Poulain” and it delivers what it promises.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Movie Review: Hanna

Hanna is a brilliant young girl being raised by her father in the cruel Finnish wilderness. She excels at hunting, speaks several languages and can defend herself against any attack her father throws at her. Her father has been raising his daughter in this unusual way to mold her into a highly skilled assassin so that she can settle an old score. It is unclear why this burden should fall on her, but its the crux of the movie so we will let it slide. Despite her years of training, her father is still somewhat reluctant when she begins to insist that she is ready. He leaves the decision in her hands and she sets into motion events that will shatter the quiet world they have built for themselves.

Hanna is a highly enjoyable film. It is action packed, yet the actress who plays Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) brings a subtlety to the film that might have been absent otherwise. At first, she seems relatively unconflicted about the murders she performs to achieve her ultimate goal of killing Cate Blanchette. However, as she experiences the world for the first time, she begins to exhibit some reluctance. By the end, she seems to have struck an uneasy deal with herself: kill only to defend yourself and do so with unwavering efficiency.

Hanna can easily be lumped in with the other female exploitation, ultra-violent femme-fatale films such as Sucker Punch or Kick Ass, but this movie has a bit more depth which bears repeated watchings.