Amélie Poulain's tender and mischievous smile is imprinted on our retinas. In this article we talk about the most famous French film of the 2000s, which brought us back to grasp the fantasy in reality and to dream as we did as children.
Since its first release in 2001, the protagonist of The fabulous world of Amélie has become an icon of French cinema . A myth of the French capital where, every year, fans of the feature film roam to discover and retrace the sets of the film.
Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet has given us a truly unusual, fascinating romantic comedy with an unmistakable personality. The soundtrack by Yann Tiersen, the garden gnomes, the Saint-Martin canal, the café where Amélie works… Everything will remain etched forever in our memory.
Amélie is a delightful and at the same time bizarre character, who at the beginning of the new millennium won everyone over . A character who, as the promotional posters of the film reported, wanted to change our life.
The beauty of photography and attention to detail immerse us in a fairy tale in which the everyday takes on the tones of magic and where the oddities and everyday life blend happily. But above all it is a rather unusual love story, and still fascinating. Creative and original, The fabulous world of Amélie continues to be for many a point of reference in cinema.
Amélie, a lonely childhood
As often happens in stories and in the most archetypal construction of the hero, Amélie appears in the film from the very beginning, or rather from her childhood . Although with comic overtones, we see a somewhat gloomy past and a lonely childhood, as always happens with heroes. In this way, Jeunet shows us our heroine as the only child of a couple who don't pay too much attention to her.
Similarly, as in all stories, we have the voiceover of a narrator omniscient, who knows the life of the characters in detail and invites us to discover them through their most curious aspects and their peculiarities.
The narrator takes us into the solitary childhood of a little girl who is forbidden to go to school and that she will experience the tragic death of her mother prematurely. Faced with so much sadness, little Amélie decides to take refuge in her very special imaginary world.
This introduction will help us understand a little more about the adult Amélie. A young woman who, despite living in Paris and working as a waitress, keeps intact those traits that distinguished her in her childhood. Introverted and extraordinarily dreamer, Amélie's life will change on the same day that a tragic accident overshadows the beginning of the millennium: the death of Lady Di.
The news is used with irony and intelligence to let us discover how Amélie, to her amazement, finds a little treasure enclosed in his Montmartre apartment .
Amélie's lonely life finally seems to have a goal: helping others . Through the search for the owner of a metal box that has been hidden in his apartment for 40 years, Amélie will discover that improving the lives of the people around her is the best way to be happy .
Better to devote yourself to others than to a garden gnome!
- The fabulous world of Amélie -
The omnipresence of love
The fabulous world of Amélie it does not only speak of altruism, but also of love, in its various shades. One of the main doubts that assail before reviewing the film is whether or not it has stood the passage of time. We must not forget that there are stories that no longer manage to overcome the filter of social change.
Like many romantic comedies of the early 2000s, this film falls into the trap of showing us a decidedly mythical idea of romantic love . An idealization that, in reality, was - and continues to be - present in film productions. We can say, in fact, that cinema has contributed enormously to the diffusion of an imaginary that has fueled the fantasies of many.
We find the central theme of love in the story of the protagonist with Nino, an unknown young man. The public hardly knows him and will gradually discover information about him as the story continues, accompanying Amélie in her love story. A completely mythicized story that responds, in part, to the idea of a fairy tale.
We could blame Amélie for this irrational infatuation and we might even see in her a character who, when analyzed thoroughly, is quite annoying. However, it is better to ignore these details and let yourself be carried away by the magic of this fairy tale.
However, The fabulous world of Amélie it is a film that runs smoothly and is rich in detail. In summary, even if romantic love is a little mythized, it is better to enjoy the film, forget the comparisons with current events and take it for what it is: a fairy tale in a real setting.
The signs of time
Among the stories presented there is one that can only provoke more than one judgment. Let's talk about that of Joseph, a man obsessed with one of Amélie's colleagues.
The character is described as a stalker and Amélie decides to take revenge to help her colleague. But this is not entirely a revenge, in fact he manages to give birth to love between Joseph and another colleague of his. The problem, therefore, is diluted in humor and, although times have changed, the film still continues to be fun.
In addition to these stories in which love always ends, it should not be forgotten that even Amélie will eventually realize that there is no love more important than that for oneself . In this sense, the protagonist becomes aware of the fact that her desire to help others makes no sense if she does not start helping herself; and this is probably the greatest act of love we see in the film.
A normal girl would run the risk of calling him right away. He would meet him in a bar to give him back his album, and in a few minutes he would know if it is worth continuing to dream. This is called confronting reality, but it's something Amélie doesn't care about at all.
- The fabulous world of Amélie -
The fabulous world of Amélie : careful staging
Born The fabulous world of Amélie everything looks sweet, but the young woman does not hesitate to show her character when needed. Behind her shy smile, hides a girl who acts in a vindictive and even childish way in the face of injustices . Let's not forget that Amélie is a dreamer who lives in a constant imaginary fairy tale, a young woman who has never abandoned her more childish side.
All this is reflected in the staging of the film and the soundtrack becomes the key to drawing this fabulous world. It is as if we perceive the scenes through the eyes of the protagonist; even though we are in the real world, in a city known as Paris, there is always the feeling of being in front of a magical and imaginary scenario.
The use of color, decorations and even the costumes of the characters reveal the details of this plot . We get to know the personality of each of them through their houses, their clothes, their facial expressions ... The photography is extremely accurate and gives us very beautiful images.
The film flows before our eyes like an unusual romantic comedy, in which the protagonist lives in her fantasies and works in the shadows to help others. The setting is the key to understanding the whole world dreamed of by Amélie and the voiceover appears in the key moments to 'tell us' the peculiarities of the characters.
Absolutely creative and original, The fabulous world of Amélie it was a success with audiences, being the second highest-grossing French film , surpassed only by Almost friends (Nakache, 2011). In addition, he has won almost all the César awards, has earned two BAFTAs and several Oscar nominations.
It is undoubtedly the romantic comedy with fantasy nuances par excellence, the French film that everyone remembers . Amélie conquered all of us with her sweetness, but also with her revenge. In a way, the film kept the promise of the posters and changed our lives by leading us to see the world from another perspective.
'Hard times for dreamers'.
- The fabulous world of Amélie -