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. 

See the source image

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. 

See the source image

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. 

See the source image

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. 

See the source image

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. 

See the source image

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. 

See the source image

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. 

See the source image

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

See the source image


Join Our Mailing List

    Recent Articles

    How Film Analysis Improves Self Understanding

    There is nothing quite like finding a film that you love, that resonates with you, and that even feels like it was made for you. Well, what if I told you that it probably was made for you- or at the very least- people like you. Take Steven Spielberg’s E.T. for example. Though the film appealed to many, it was especially popular among those whose parents separated or divorced. Spielberg explained recently that the film was inspired by his own parents divorce, stating that he “had been working on an actual literal script about [his] parents’ separation and divorce,” and that he transformed it “into a story about children and a family….” Understanding why a film is made can help people to better understand why a film may or may not appeal to them. Through film analysis, people can deepen their understanding of the movies they watch, and in turn themselves. Film analysis improves individuals’ knowledge of psychology, and their own self-awareness.

    Sadie Sink’s Incredible Performance in the Upcoming Movie The Whale

    In a recent interview, the beloved actor Brendan Fraser praised his co-star Sadie Sink for her acting in the upcoming A24 movie The Whale, which comes out this December. The actress rose to fame for her role as Max in Netflix’s hit show Stranger Things. Although Sadie Sink began acting at seven in small theater productions, Stranger Things was her first role on TV. Since Stranger Things, she acted in Taylor Swift’s All Too Well short film.

    Why “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” Has A Lot Riding On It

    On October 6, Nintendo and Illumination Entertainment dropped the first and highly-anticipated trailer for “The Super Mario Bros. Movie”, a project that’s been in the works for years. The teaser was met with acclaim from many, cautious joy from others (myself included), or outright criticism from those who took issue with the film’s CGI-standard animation style or casting choices. Of course, the film’s reception was bound to be decisive, but the ever-diligent Nintendo has made an intensive effort to ensure that its newest animated installment in the Mario-verse is financially successful–the film already has Mountain Dew ads featuring the voice of Luigi Charlie Day lined up, and has secured numerous spots for major TV sports events. But when you consider the failure of Nintendo’s first attempt at a Mario movie back in 1993, the video game company’s current obsession with making sure everything goes right with this movie starts to make more sense.

    DC Studios are Mapping its Next 10-Year Plan: What’s Next?

    Screenwriter James Gunn and movie producer Peter Safran have announced that they are currently working on DC Studios new 10 year plan. The DC franchise faced a series of failures and missteps since 2013 when they attempted to rival Marvel’s cinematic universe. The franchise also faced internal instability after Warner Bros bought by Warner Bros. Since the acquisition, Warner Bros. has consistently attempted to revamp DC. Part of the studio’s major overhauls included Warner Bros. hiring James Gunn and James Safron to work as co CEOs. In the Warner Bros. recent Discovery townhall, James Gunn discussed working on future plans.

    The Rise of Wes Anderson

    Wes Anderson first crossed my radar when I was taking an intro to film class in college, and I was studying color theory. Like many, I was instantly fascinated by his detailed set design, playful use of colors, and symmetrical camera shots. Since discovering his style and watching many of his films, I’ve noticed his name coming up in conversation more often. I suppose that’s always the case though when you learn something new. But in this case, I think it has more to do with how Anderson’s style has influenced the general public. His style is so distinct and influential that it has reached beyond the cinematic screen, and affected social media, interior design, and even mainstream fashion.

    Smile’s Genius Marketing Strategy

    In the era of streaming services, production companies have had to find creative new ways to build hype for movies in order to drive people out of their homes and into movie theaters. The marketing team for the newly released horror movie Smile, has revolutionized building hype for new releases and I suggest production companies take some notes.

    Hey! Are you enjoying NYCTastemakers? Make sure to join our mailing list for NYCTM and never miss the chance to read all of our articles!