The Amélie Effect

“On September 3rd, 1973, at 6:28 pm and 32 seconds, a bluebottles fly capable of 14,670 wing beats a minute landed on Rue St Vincent, Montmartre. At the same time, on a restaurant terrace nearby, the wind magically made two glasses dance unseen on a tablecloth. Meanwhile, in a 5th-floor flat, 28 Avenue Trudsine, 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.”

 This is how we were introduced to the protagonist of Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s fourth feature film, Amélie Poulain. The movie Le Fabuleux Destin D’Amelie Poulain, or as its American name Amélie, centers around the life of an unusual Parisian girl who later discovered that she could have an effect on people, or what I like to call The Amélie Effect. 

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Amélie grew up in isolation; she didn’t have a close relationship with her parents. She was homeschooled by her mother because during her monthly checkups done by her father; she would get nervous because it’s the closest she got to her father, and so her heart would beat fast, which resulted in her father misdiagnosing her with a heart condition and declaring her unfit for school. 

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She then loses her mother at a young age, which only makes her father more distant. The detailed description and rawness of the film make us feel connected to Amélie and the other characters of the movie as well. 

Amélie moves out of her parent’s house at 18 and starts discovering the world on her own. 

The Amélie effect starts when Amélie drops a bottle cap in the bathroom as she hears the news of the death of Princess Diana. The cap hits a tile in the bathroom, revealing a box full of old pictures and letters. Amélie concludes that it may belong to the former resident in this apartment and tries to find him to give him the box back. 

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Amélie tried everything to find that guy, and we can see the length she would go to make that happen. Because of Amélie’s shy nature, she gave him back his box in a discreet way while spying from a distance to see his reaction as the man cried and decided to reconnect with his long-lost daughter, as the box ignited feelings of nostalgia. 

We can see The Amélie Effect take off from here. Whether it’s narrating what is happening in the street to a blind man as she’s helping him cross the street, which resulted in giving that man “an eye-opening” experience, or easing her neighbor’s uncertainty by fabricating a letter from her long-lost lover and giving her closure. 

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In many ways, the film Amélie is very similar to a silent film. Although a lot of dialogue is present throughout the film, other elements are heightened to convey meanings and event emotions to the audience. The actors of the film are highly effective in using body language and facial expressions to convey meaning without understanding the conversation. As a foreign movie, this was a great tactic to reach more audiences. 

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Other elements make this movie really stand out. The music and soundtrack is used very organically to match the rhythm to match the movie’s events; Yann Tiersen did a spectacular job in setting the scene for the movie. We can also see that the picture is highly saturated in the movie. The movie follows a high pace of both events and emotions; we can see an emphasis on the colors green, red, and yellow. 

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The Emphasis on the color Green outside her door represents the staleness of the city, while the emphasis on Red on her side represents the warmth and explosion of emotions.

Facial expressions undoubtedly contributed a lot to the movie. The movie relied heavily on organic closeups and lacked special effects, which led to a more raw film contributing to the realness of the film. The film allows us to view the world through the character’s eyes, which is very unusual and takes the audience out of their comfort zone. I could not imagine someone as a better fit to play a role like this than Audrey Tautou. 

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Amélie finds love through her journey of doing acts of kindness, but because of her shy nature, she confesses her love her own way. 

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