10 French Films Like Amélie and Where to Find Them
Every French person has seen it. Every American that declares themselves a true Francophile has seen it, and most likely took a photo of the actual coffee shop while in Paris. Ever since the release of Amélie (Le Fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain) 18 years ago, no French film has reached the popularity of Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s colorful Parisian dramedy. If you've ever wondered whether France has produced films with the same playful characters, eclectic soundtracks and whimsical cinematography, the answer is a resounding yes! Here are the best ones and where to watch them.
Love Me If You Dare (Jeu d’enfants)
Released three years after Amélie, this romantic comedy with Marion Cotillard and Guillaume Canet was immediately compared with Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s hit film for its polished original cinematography and its visual tricks. To come to the defense of the film, the script and the storyboard of Love Me If You Dare were completed before Amélie came out.
This romantic comedy follows the exploits of two young would-be lovers as they go from childhood to adulthood with themselves as the greatest hurdle to their own happiness. Julien and Sophie first meet at the age of eight when both are undergoing great trauma: Julien is watching his mother die and Sophie has become the focus of intense hazing at the hands of some fellow schoolmates. On one fateful day, Julien decides to stick up for Sophie and pulls a practical joke on her tormentors. Henceforth, the two embark on a close friendship that revolves around daring each other to pull increasingly audacious practical jokes, rather than the seemingly obvious intimate relationship they seem dangerously close to discovering at any moment.
Watch it Amazon Prime($2,99), YouTube($2,99), iTunes, Vudu
An obvious choice as it was directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the master behind Amélie. In this one-of-a-kind comedy released in 1992, meat becomes so rare that it is used as currency, residents living above a delicatessen must depend on a menacingly strange butcher (Jean-Claude Dreyfus) for their supply. But when a new tenant (Dominique Pinon) arrives and takes a job as the building's handyman, he unknowingly steps into the butcher's trap...to serve him as the next meal! A premise that could not be further from Amélie, but a visual style (close-ups, use of colors, and odd camera angles), that will undoubtedly remind you of your favorite romantic dreamer, as well as the cast: Dominique Pinon, Rufus, Ticky Holgado are among the actors that appear in both films.
Watch it on Amazon Prime($3,99), Fandango Now($3,99), iTunes($3,99), Vudu
Romantics Anonymous (Les émotifs anonymes)
There is definitely an Amelie-esque atmosphere in this feel-good, charming comedy about two odd balls falling in love. Struggling chocolatier Jean-René (Benoît Poelvoorde), who suffers from a case of awkward bashfulness that threatens to drown his company, hires Angelique (Isabelle Carré) as his new sales associate. Angelique is a gifted chocolate-maker whose uncontrollable shyness also prevents her from acknowledging her talents. Realizing she's attracted to her boss, Angelique decides to anonymously develop a new line of chocolates to save the company. With the future of the business hanging in the balance, Angelique and Jean-Rene must overcome their limitations and confess their sweet affections for one another. This quirky French romance has the right amount of cheesiness and an on-point retro soundtrack that's sure to win you over.
Watch it on Amazon Prime ($7,99) and iTunes ($3,99)
Lou! Journal infime
Its over the top, dreamy colorful cinematography makes Lou! a great Amélie-like film for teens. This quirky and unapologetically kitsch comedy follows Lou, a creative and dreamy 12-year-old girl, who lives alone with her mother in an "orange building with tons of little balconies that give access to the roof." Mina has been her best friend since kindergarten, and Lou has been in love with Tristan, one of her neighbors, since elementary school. Her mother has relinquished her own personal happiness of late so as to devote herself to her daughter, but their little bubble bursts when Mom meets a man and Lou at last dares speak to Tristan. A family movie if you are not scared of sugar-coated scripts!
Watch it on iTunes($3,99), Vudu or buy the DVD on Amazon (from $10)
2 Autumns, 3 Winters
A story about the loves and lives of Parisians. The innovative and edgy directing by Sébastien Betbeder will definitely satisfy the Amélie fan…or at least fans of Nouvelle Vague. Arman, 33, is ready to make a change, starting with a run in the park. When he literally bumps into Amélie (hmmm) - slightly cynical but nevertheless lovely - on the jogging path, he becomes dead-set on making a connection with her. As a bit of contrived fate brings them together, Arman's best friend Benjamin suffers an unexpected stroke, relegating him to the hospital for weeks where he falls for his doting young physical therapist. Over the course of two autumns and three winters, Arman, Amélie and Benjamin share the incidental moments, unexpected accidents, unconventional love stories and unforgettable memories that will define who they are. A must-see indie French dramedy.
Watch it on Film Movement Plus, Amazon Prime($4,99), Fandango Now($0,99), iTunes($3,99)
If that’s still not enough, here are others films in the like of Amélie : Populaire, Micmacs à tire-Larigot, La cité des enfants perdus, The Artist, Le battement d'ailes du papillon.