Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

The Many Melodies of Amélie Poulain: “Amélie” Review

Amélie (French: Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain) is a 2001 French romantic comedy film, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and started by Audrey Tautou as Amélie Poulain, a young and shy waitress that, even against the odds, becomes some type of contemporary heroine, because of her simplicity and different point of views above the chaotic nowaday’s life.

The movie was acclaimed by the critics and then received several awards, such as Best Film at the European Film Awards, 4 César Awards (including Best Film), 2 BAFTA Awards and was nominated for 5 Academy Awards.

Everything that composes this piece is perfectly balanced to build to the audience the feeling of recognition of itself and sympathy for the good actions of Amélie – and her undeniable loneliness.

Starting with the movie script: in a chronological order, we see the childhood of a girl whose parents are successful professionals that can’t give their kid a hug. The lack of attention creates an anxious child that, everytime her father, as a doctor, approaches to examine her heart beatings, it is too much emotional to control them, which gives him an idea that Amélie has a heart condition. Growing up with that affectional distance, she decides to leave home soon as she can and, eventually, start working as a waitress at Montmartre.

The main subject of this particular trajectory isn’t, although, the life of a French girl living on her own. One night, when Amélie watches at TV that Lady Diana has passed away in a car accident in Paris, she drops a perfume-stopper and discovers a secret metal-box, hidden by a little boy that used to live in that apartment at the 50’s, which contains an amount of childhood memorabilia. From that moment, the searching for that boy starts, and our protagonist promises that if she were accomplished to find the owner of the box, she would dedicate her life for supporting the other’s. And so it goes.

It is important to observe that the spectator receives all of this by a traditional – but still charming – story-telling format, with a very resilient narrator. He comments everything and everyone: “what does this particular Amélie friend enjoy, and where is he from?”. Also, the protagonist itself makes commentaries about her likings and dislikings, talking to the viewer how much she enjoys to see the many faces at the movies’ screen, delightfully, romance film scenes. Unpredictability, we laugh, and ask for ourselves: how didn’t I note this before?

Also, there is the music. Composed by Yann Tiersen, this French musician won a César for Best Music and this couldn’t be more fair. The melodies of accordion and piano, both instruments with vital participation in French traditional music, are like companions of Amélie and the characters of the movie, including, of course, the viewer. United with the peculiar and impeccable photography, rich with tons of green and orange, the film is like a warm company for the many questions that emerges from it.

But, what are this questions made of?

As said before, Amélie is lonely and always were. However, she doesn’t claim, desperate, for the “good life indicators” that emerge from the contemporary context, as undeniable happiness, good social life, a husband or a wife, parents without their personal issues and problems. Actually, Amélie is a woman that is dealing with all this kind of difficulties and still can enchant us with her patience and, at the same time, recognition that has troubles to deal with. The final scene – no spoiler will be declared, calm down! – can give the superficial idea that everything went fine because of that particular person. Well, that is not true. Dealing with the emotional process that is told at the film that truly shows that young woman the timing of things, the beauty in knowing yourself and the challenge of the comprehension of the other. Maybe, a toast creme brulee crack can give you pleasure enough – and courage enough – to pursue what is normally called “happiness” and turn it to whatever you want it to become.

Giovanna Galvani

Casper Libero

One of Casper Libero's University editors, with an acid sense of humour and lots of love for cats. Journalism student & enthusiast, though it may be a dreamer's stuff nowadays. Contact me: Twitter • Instagram • LinkedIn
Similar Reads👯‍♀️