It’s always somewhat problematic to judge acting in foreign movies. Different cultures have different ways of expressing themselves, and a slightly raised eyebrow may be a sign of annoyance in one part of the world, a hint of curiosity in another and a deadly insult in a third. And there will always be subtleties in the way characters speak that get lost when you’re not familiar with the language.
But in spite of all this, I feel fairly comfortable about putting Audrey Tautou‘s performance as the titular Amélie as my response to today’s challenge. While I did study French for six years during my teens, most of that knowledge has largely been forgotten by now. Even so, Tautou transcends any language issues. Everything Amélie goes through emotionally in this movie can be read clear as day on her face. When she’s happy, she radiates. When she’s sad, she melts (not just figuratively). And when she’s planning one of her joy-bringing pranks, she crackles. While there are many things that makes Amélie such a fantastic movie (the lush photo and clever script, to name but two), the whole thing would have fallen apart if the lead hadn’t been just right. Audrey Tautou carries the movie on her tiny shoulders and never falters in the slightest.