4 April 2008 | nick suess
Delightful feelgood escapism
In some ways a remake of Amelie, in others very different indeed, with a layer of fantasy added to the surrealism of the earlier movie, and a Dennis Potter tendency to break into song at the drop of a hat, or even a feather. In Odette's case it is the songs of Josephine Baker which inspire her. Unlike Amelie, Odette is no longer young, but a widowed middle aged mother of two late teens, who struggles to keep her head above water. She is in no way chic, in fact quite the reverse, with a serious taste for all things kitsch. She is not from Montmartre, not even Parisienne, but a resident of Charleroi, a Belgian city south of Brussels famous only for its heavy industries of coal and steel. Style points seriously lacking in her life, and escapism into trashy fiction is what keeps her going.
Then when she least expects it, her life changes, and to tell any more would be a spoiler. Cynics amongst us may hate it, but the journey she travels as a result is reaffirming of optimism in life, and tells a story that wealth and fame are illusory bubbles, and that those who chase them are in for a surprise when they burst.
Watching it I was reminded of Adrian Henri's beautiful little poem, with the line "Love is a fan club with only two fans". Watch it.