The Unabashed Francophile Post, Part 5: Audrey Tautou

Audrey TautouI have a bit of a thing for Audrey Tautou. Okay, more than a bit. I can’t quite define what it is that I like about her. She is talented and gorgeous, but there’s also an intangible something that has caught my fancy.

I, like most of the English-speaking world, first met Ms. Tautou in the film Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain. The film is a fantasy Paris narrated through the eyes of the fanciful dreamer, Amélie, where clouds turn into animals, old men find their childhood toys, and she can dream of love.

The film is a delight to watch and has become one of my favourites, perfect for a quiet afternoon with a cup of tea.

But what about her other work?
Another of my favourite films is Priceless (Hors de prix), where she co-stars with Gad Elmaleh, playing a young gold-digger who mistakes a bartender for a wealthy target. It’s a charming comedy and the premise seems funnier and far more interesting in French than it might be as done by Hollywood.

She starred in the blockbuster The Da Vinci Code with Tom Hanks, though I can’t say that it is among my favourite films. I far prefer her in films such as Dieu est grand, je suis toute petite, where she plays a young woman who falls in love with a veterinarian who is a non-practicing Jew. She decides to convert, and the film is part comedy, part philosophy.

If I had to make a list, I’d recommend the following films:

  • Dieu est grand, je suis toute petite (God is Great and I Am Not)
  • Dirty Pretty Things
  • Coco avant Chanel (Coco Before Chanel)
  • Hors de prix (Priceless)
  • Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain (Amélie)

No matter what, if you haven’t seen a film with Audrey Tautou (excluding The Da Vinci Code), then you haven’t really had the chance to appreciate her talent. And in the meantime, I’ll go watch Priceless or Amélie and see if I can figure out just what that something is.

Link: IMdB

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5 Responses to The Unabashed Francophile Post, Part 5: Audrey Tautou

  1. Ben Wiebe says:

    I love the intangibles of Tautou, along with a few other people (celebs or not). They’re not “perfect” in the way that some so-called supermodels are, whose beauty can almost be quantified and graphed. But, Tautou and others are far more beautiful than any supermodel just because of that little mystery, that je ne sais quoi.

    • I’d almost say it’s her charisma. If you can find it, watch her interview on the Craig Ferguson show. (she did one for Coco avant Chanel) She’s sweet, and elegant, and funny. And Craig has to dig into his poor French, as her English isn’t very good.

  2. Jan Rubak says:

    I’ve been a big fan of Jean-Pierre Jeunet ever since watching “Delicatessen” at the Plaza Theatre many years ago, so when I happened to be in Montréal during the Quebec release of “Le Fabuleux Destin…” (not knowing whether there’d even be an english Canada theatrical release) I dragged my wife along to watch it. Thankfully it was nothing like “Delicatessen”, or I probably would’ve been sleeping on the couch for a few nights. The wonderful whimsy and surreal imagery in it has made it one of my favourite films of all time, and I don’t think that it could’ve worked as well with anyone other than Tautou in the lead.

    We also saw Jeunet’s follow-up film “A Very Long Engagement” in the theatre, which was carried by Tautou even more so than “Le Fabuleux Destin…” was. I like this film almost as much (would probably rank it among my top twenty favourite films of all time). Unfortunately it didn’t get as much North American exposure. I did manage to find the DVD in a bargain bin once, but then foolishly loaned it to a friend and didn’t get it back. 😦 Tautou’s character is a little more worldly than Amélie, but still has that fierce innocence driving all her actions.

    I’ve seen about five minutes of “Dirty Pretty Things”, but couldn’t watch any more, not because Tautou isn’t a great actor, but because I was afraid that seeing her in a role like that would somehow break the spell for me when I watched her Jeunet films. Terrible, I know. It’s every actor’s worst fear to get typecast, but those two flms are just so magical for me, that I don’t want anything to spoil them.

    Yeah, “The Da Vinci Code” was a fun piece of Hollywood fluff, that you can’t fault her for taking on. I’d liken it to Jeunet’s “Alien Resurrection” or Gilliam’s “Brothers Grimm”: no to be taken too seriously, but enjoyable for what it is.

    • I’ve seen ‘A Very Long Engagement’ (also in the theatre), but it didn’t stick with me in the same way that ‘Le Fabuleux Destin..’ did. I should watch it again. I also should watch more of Jeunet’s films; they have a particular feel that I quite like.

      I’d love to see her do more English films, but I think that her talent would be wasted on most of the fluff that Hollywood spews out these days.

  3. Harsh says:

    That truly is.

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