“On September 3rd, 1973, at 6:28 pm and 32 seconds, a bluebottle fly capable of 14,670 wing beats a minute landed on Rue St Vincent, Montmartre. At the same moment, on a restaurant terrace nearby, the wind magically made two glasses dance unseen on a tablecloth. Meanwhile, in a 5th-floor flat, 28 Avenue Trudaine, Paris 9, returning from his best friend’s funeral, Eugène Colère erased his name from his address book. At the same moment, a sperm with one X chromosome, belonging to Raphaël Poulain, made a dash for an egg in his wife Amandine. Nine months later, Amélie Poulain was born.”
It is here that the story begins of Amélie, or “The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain” as translated from its full original title. This wonderfully quaint romantic comedy from director Jean-Pierre Jeunet was released 2001 and is of French origin. Mistakenly believed to have a heart defect by her doctorly father, Amélie lives a suppressed childhood.
Despite her sheltered life, she moves to the central part of Paris when she is of age and becomes a waitress, although still is “painfully shy.” With the ever popular French actress Audrey Tautou as the title character (who can also be seen in other French films like A Very Long Engagement and Coco Before Chanel), we watch, through a series of events, as Amélie decides to change the lives of people around her. Even if, in the end, she eventually discovers that one of those lives is her own.
Amelie is full of great humor and beautifully shot scenes that provide the film with its “whimsical depiction of contemporary Parisian life,” a depiction that reflects Améle’s own active imagination and would make any young woman today want to live in a charming Parisian apartment like the protagonist.
The film has a hint of fantasy that is apparent in such scenes as paintings, lamps, and photos speaking to various human characters and a scene in which Amélie literally melts, amongst a handful more. The intriguing music choices and sound effects add a unique touch to the Amélie, really helping us to feel certain the moments, and the film also breaches the “fourth wall,” in which characters directly acknowledge the audience, in a very fun and amusing way.
But beyond these delightful details of what is surely considered an indie film classic, Amélie reminds us of some very important things in the game of life: that there is no better time than the present… that even the smallest things can brighten someone’s day… and that we should live our lives before you are placed in a box just like your childhood relics (a concept you will just have to see the film to understand in all its glory). Even if you are not particularly a fan of foreign films you have to read your way through, Amélie is worth the watch for any film fanatic.