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Amélie – a short analysis

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The title Amélie is short for Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain in French, which means The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain. For reasons, the English translation for the title becomes Amélie from Montmartre.

The French title demonstrates the magic that the movie is trying to display in a much more effectively than either English translation do. The film is not just about finding romance in the mundane, but it is also a depiction of the beautiful life Amélie has created for herself. She is well-liked not because she can afford mansions or fights super villains, but because she believes in kindness and helping others – even if it means going out of her way.

This movie falls into the category of several genres, such as romance, comedy, fantasy and foreign film. But in the crux of it all, Amelie is a romantic movie set out to capture the heart of its viewers, as the characters set out to find love. Love here does not mean loving a significant other or some lover, because it means finding love and peace in everyday life. Yes, the movie circulates around accomplishing things that will lead to love for one’s own self and his/her surrounding.

Some people even consider this movie to be a comedy but not a romantic comedy. Because this movie is very different from many other cliché movies that we get to watch, in which the characters start of by hating each other and finally falling in love. In fact, the characters have scenes only at the near end of the movie. The comedy stems from the supporting characters like Georgette or Collignon.

And lastly, it is a foreign film because this is about Paris. If you are not from Paris, as most of us unfortunately are, then it becomes a foreign film. It shows the love of Paris and the magic that it possesses.

The setting of the story is Montmartre – a neighborhood of Paris. And it all begins at the death of Princess Diana’s death on August 31. Every place that Amelie visits gives out a feeling of happiness and internal peace. The colors used or combined are mostly kept bright and shiny to give out a positive vibe.

More importantly, the best part is that this film is authentic in the sense that you can visit the actual places the movie was shot at. You can even visit the Moulin café or ride a carousel because it is all real.

When you think about it, you realize that the writers and the makers wanted the people to witness some real change in the lives of the characters, which is why this movie is spread out in a timeframe of 30 days. It is a very short period to go in depth with every character and its life but at the same time, it is just the right time because most people have been stuck in the same place for years and years.

Amélie’s ordinary world is actually extraordinary to many American movie-goers. She lives in a picturesque fantasy version of Paris—the romantic “Paree” version of the city that many Americans expect to see when they visit Paris.
Amélie’s world is shattered when Princess Diana dies. Still she hopes she can change the world, one small step at a time.

To find Bretodeau, Amélie needs help, and she gets it from Mr. Dufayel, a man who stays in his own apartment all the time. Amélie also likes to stay in her own apartment, but she doesn’t have an excuse.

Amélie crosses the threshold, which is the door of a small phone booth, but comes back immediately after that to see how things would look on the outside. Amélie leaves Bretodeau’s box where he can find it, but doesn’t reveal the identity of the person who put it there. This marks as an important moment for her, and her first step toward coming out of her shell.

After bringing Bretodeau’s childhood memories back to him, Amélie realizes the potential of ability to have an impact on others’ lives. She learns to help her father get over the death of her mother. She helps her weirdest restaurant patron find a relationship and she succeeds.

Amélie sees herself as a Mother Theresa or a Princess Diana type, a person who does charitable acts for others without any regard for herself.

The mystery revolves around returning the photo back to its owner but first she must learn who the owner is and where he works. Afraid to confront Nino directly, she starts an elaborate scavenger hunt.
Nino asks Amélie on a date. Amélie is still ruled by her anxiety, when he asks her out on a date, and she runs away from his offer.

Amélie’s road back is a regretful one. She is back to her tiny apartment, making pasta, all by herself, just like she was at the beginning of the movie. But she’s in Paris! Everyone loves Paris. And pasta! But being alone is the sticking point. Amélie knows that she must now meet Nico face-to-face if she wants to rule her own destiny.

Amélie opens the door and sees Nino who is standing there. But instead of shutting the door in his face and hiding inside, like she would normally behave at the beginning of the movie, she lets him inside her apartment, and inside her life. She has grown into a new person. Now she is the happy one, instead of the one who brings happiness to others.

Amélie and Nino start their relationship by riding his motorbike through the charming streets of Paris. It’s the “happily ever after” that we kept hoping for at the beginning, the Paris we see in postcards, it is the dream come true. But this time, our princess has found her handsome prince, the one she deserves.


  • Amelie, Mary SusannahRobbins – Ommation Press – 1986
  • Rainbow magic: Amelie the seal fairy, Daisy Meadows – Scholastic – 2011
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