It is only natural that audiences feel drawn to the fantastic world of Amélie Poulain. With showstopping visuals, a quirky central character perfectly brought to life by the talented Audrey Tuntou, and a solid premise that sheds light on the importance of fraternity and kindness, Amélie is regarded as one of the best romantic comedies ever made.

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Aside from Jean Pierre Jeunet‘s other works — which include the war drama A Very Long Engagement and the underrated sci-fi The City of Lost Children — what are some films that also have that Amélie je ne sais quoi about them? Whether it is thanks to their magical realism visuals or the heartfelt narrative, the following movies are considerable picks for fans of the French film. From Midnight in Paris to The Grand Budapest Hotel, these are the best movies like Amélie.

10 ‘Forrest Gump’ (1994)

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Forrest sitting next to a woman on a bench in Forrest Gump.
Image via Paramount Pictures

Forrest Gump stars TomHanks in one of his most memorable roles and follows the life of an Alabama man with an IQ of 75, illustrating his life experiences during the 20th century, from joining the army for service in Vietnam to meeting the president several times (all this while hoping to be reunited with his childhood sweetheart, played by Robin Wright).

While the plot of the Robert Zemeckis film differs greatly from Amélie’s, the two films share some interesting similarities, particularly in how they handle the universal topics of dreams, hopes, as well as love and self-development. The second highest-grossing film of 1994, the moving Forrest Gump is considered a classic these days (though some people believe that it tends to get worse with age) and has earned multiple accolades for its screenplay, visual effects, music, and performances, including the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor.

Forrest Gump

Release Date
July 6, 1994

Runtime
142

Watch on Amazon Prime

9 ‘Midnight in Paris’ (2011)

Director: Woody Allen

A man in a suit and a woman in a summer dress walk through the streets of Paris together at night.
Image via Sony Pictures Classics

Some may rightfully want to avoid the works of the infamous filmmaker Woody Allen. However, it would be hard to deny the fact that Midnight in Paris is one of the films that most resembles Amélie in its playful essence. Blending the comedy, fantasy, and romance genres, the Owen Wilson-led film follows a nostalgic writer who finds himself mysteriously going back to the 1920s every day at midnight.

Like Amélie, Midnight in Paris is beautifully shot on location in Paris and offers audiences a whimsical premise in the magic realism style, providing, in the meantime, striking shots of the beloved city that further elevate its witty screenplay to higher levels. Some may find it extra appealing because of its star-studded cast, which includes Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Tom Hiddleston, Adrien Brody, and other well-known faces.

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8 ‘Submarine’ (2010)

Director: Richard Ayoade

Craig Roberts and Yasmin Paige in 'Submarine' standing in front of a wall.
Image via Studiocanal UK

Centering around a clever 15-year-old boy named Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts) as he hatches a plan to have intercourse for the first time on his next birthday and destroy the sparks between his mother and her ex-lover who has stepped foot in her life again, Submarine is an entertaining, unconventional and heavily underrated coming-of-age story that will keep audiences (particularly those who are enthusiastic about independent filmmaking) invested.

Richard Ayoade‘s charming British-American production was his debut feature and earned deserved praise from critics despite being an overlooked watch. It is adapted from the 2008 novel by JoeDunthorne. What’s so great about this coming-of-age tale is how it throws dark comedy elements into the mix with hilarious results. Like Amélie, Submarine is intelligent, sweet, and funny, with beautiful cinematography and memorable dialogue.

Submarine

Release Date
March 18, 2011

Runtime
97 minutes

Watch on Roku

7 ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ (2012)

Director: Wes Anderson

Kara Hayward in Moonrise Kingdom with binoculars.
Image via Focus Features

It’s impossible not to think Wes Anderson when it comes to quirky features like Amélie, and Moonrise Kingdom is one of the director’s works that best encapsulates the themes of nativity and the power of love that Jeunet’s film also tackles. This adventure comedy illustrates the developing relationship between two 12-year-olds (Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward) who run away from home and elope into the wilderness.

While it is probably one of Anderson’s most underrated works, Moonrise Kingdom is a gorgeous film that makes the most of its comedic narrative, which was a result of Anderson and Roman Coppola‘s own childhood fantasies. Much like Amélie, this Oscar-nominated film is a celebration of naiveté and imagination that actually features some poignant messages underneath its polished visuals (namely about dysfunctional families).

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6 ‘Frances Ha’ (2012)

Director: Greta Gerwig

Greta Gerwig running in 'Frances Ha'
Image via IFC Films

Featuring the film director Greta Gerwig in one of her few movie roles, Noah Baumbach‘s comedy-drama centers around a New York dancer who embarks on a quest to find her place in the world. Throughout the film, Frances goes from apartment to apartment looking for a job, a partner, and a purpose.

Although Frances Ha differs quite a lot from Amélie visually (it is shot entirely in black-and-white, unlike Jeunet’s picturesque, colorful movie), it is an equally engaging slice of life story that portrays the unquenchable search for meaning and the need to make an impact on other people’s lives. Frances Ha is surely one of the best films about the self-discovery journey, especially as a young woman who feels a bit adrift in the world.

frances ha

Release Date
May 17, 2013

Runtime
86

Watch on Netflix

5 ‘Big Fish’ (2003)

Director: Tim Burton

Edward Bloom (Ewan McGregor) in a flower field in Big Fish.
Image via Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group

Big Fish is quite possibly Tim Burton‘s most moving feature to date (excluding Edward Scissorhands). With a strained father-son relationship at its center, this tale of grief and love follows William (Billy Crudup) as he travels to be with his father (Albert Finney) after learning that he has become ill. Edward looks back on his life through his fantastical anecdotes, while journalist William begins to slowly understand him.

Burton’s non-linear magical realism feature analyzes ambition, truth, and personal gratification in an affecting way that resembles Amélie; its colorful cinematography is nothing short of incredible, and the fantastical elements in addition to its off-beat comedy make it a memorable watch. Big Fish was a critical success and even earned nominations in multiple film categories, including four Golden Globe Award nods.

Big Fish

Release Date
December 25, 2003

Runtime
125

Rent on Apple TV

4 ‘In the Mood for Love’ (2000)

Director: Wong Kar-Wai

Maggie Cheung and Tony Chiu-Wai Leung in 'In the Mood For Love' (2000)
Image via Universal Pictures

Whether we’re talking about their stunning visuals or captivating narratives, Wong Kar-Wai‘s movies are in a league of their own. In the Mood for Love, a romantic drama that portrays the platonic bond between two neighbors who suspect extramarital activities of their spouses.

Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung‘s chemistry is part of what makes the acclaimed In the Mood for Love an incredible film, but the astonishing photography and bewitching premise certainly add to its charm. Those who enjoyed the romantic bits in Amélie and its warm color palette will certainly appreciate Kar-Wai’s masterpiece on yearning, which supplies audiences with an unconventional love story guaranteed to keep them glued to their screens. In the Mood for Love was ranked 5th in Sight & Sound‘s “Greatest Films of All Time” critics’ poll in 2022.

In the Mood For Love

Release Date
March 9, 2001

Cast
Maggie Cheung , Tony Leung Chiu Wai , Rebecca Pan , Roy Cheung

Runtime
98 Minutes

Watch on Criterion

3 ‘Cinema Paradiso’ (1988)

Director: Giuseppe Tornatore

Salvatore Cascio as Salvatore looking at developed film roll in 'Cinema Paradiso'
Image via Titanus

Anyone who likes movies about movies knows that Cinema Paradiso is a must-see (it is often cited as one of the best films of all time for a reason). The tender Giuseppe Tornatore film centers around a filmmaker who looks back to his childhood, recalling falling in love with the movies at the cinema of his home village and forming a meaningful relationship with the projectionist.

On top of meditating about the power of cinema, serving as a tribute that highlights how it binds people together, the touching French-Italian tale benefits greatly from its striking imagery, which perfectly captures the beauty of the fictitious town of Giancaldo, Italy. Now regarded as a cult classic, Cinema Paradiso is, much like Amélie, a thoughtful, warm, and compassionate tale about human connection that also celebrates art.

Cinema Paradiso

Release Date
February 23, 1990

Cast
Enzo Cannavale , Antonella Attili , Isa Danieli , Philippe Noiret

Runtime
155 minutes

Watch on Amazon Prime

2 ‘City Lights’ (1931)

Director: Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin and Virginia Cherrill smiling while standing next to each other in City Lights.
Image via United Artists

To some, City Lights is considered the first great romantic comedy, and this is not the least surprising. Although a silent film, Chaplin’s masterwork — frequently regarded as his crowning achievement — perfectly embodies the genre. City Lights follows the misadventures of Charlie Chaplin’s tramp, who falls in love with a beautiful blind girl played by Virginia Cherrill.

Immediately successful upon release, the 1931 movie is praised for its impeccable physical comedy and the charming nativity of the central relationship, which resembles Jeunet’s Amélie. Furthermore, Chaplin’s adorable black-and-white film also features incredible usage of sound effects for the time it was released and is anchored by two amazing performances. It is the kind of film that gracefully stands the test of time despite having premiered almost a century ago.

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1 ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ (2014)

Director: Wes Anderson

Tony Revolori and Saoirse Ronan in The Grand Budapest Hotel surrounded by pink boxes.
Image via 20th Century Studios

Another great pick from Wes Anderson is, of course, the pastel-colored The Grand Budapest Hotel. This adventure crime comedy follows Ralph Fiennes‘ Monsieur Gustave H., the famed concierge of a twentieth-century resort in the fictional country of Zubrowka, and recounts his adventures, which include the theft of a priceless Renaissance painting.

The Grand Budapest Hotel‘s unique and gorgeous setting in addition to its quirky and memorable characters may take audiences back to the enchanting world of Amélie that provides global audiences with comfort. While any other Anderson flick could make it to this list, both the equally artistic, Best Picture nominee The Grand Budapest Hotel and Moonrise Kingdom share a very similar feel-good atmosphere to Jeunet’s French classic, making for the perfect picks.

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NEXT: 12 Best Movies About Self-Discovery, Ranked

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