Heart of Amélie

Kevin Song ’18

“Amélie has a strange feeling of absolute harmony. It’s a perfect moment. A soft light, a scent in the air, the quiet murmur of the city. A surge of love, an urge to help mankind overcomes her.”

It is these lines that encapsulate the film, Amélie. Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and written by Guillaume Laurent, this 2001 French Romantic-Comedy film remains the highest-grossing French-language film released in the United States. Undeniably warm and giddy, the film’s cherished characters and fast-paced love stories continue to captivate viewers of every age.

The film centers around Amélie Poulain. Born in 1974 to rather odd and eccentric parents, Amélie grew up being home-schooled, finding herself lonely, yet also enthusiastically imaginative and mischievous. Losing her mother at an early age–a falling, suicidal Canadian tourist had jumped off a building and landed and splattered on her–Amélie shared her childhood years with her meek father, and of course, her undying, whimsical imagination.

Amélie leaves home at age 18 to work as a waitress at the Café des 2 Moulins at Montmarte. She works while surrounded by various eccentrics, all unabashedly weird and honest. She’s alone, but there’s no ounce of loneliness in her. Still, she inevitably gets her first taste of infatuation, embarking on her mysterious, romantic journey with Nino Quincampoix. Amélie’s life then enters a whirlwind of cat-and-mouse games with Nino, each desperately seeking love for one another. We begin to witness her individual bouts of love and compassion throughout the film, seeing the unraveling of her personality as she begins to finally pursue her own happiness.

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