One person can change your life forever.
She’ll change your life.
Amélie is a romantic comedy film directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Written by Jeunet with Guillaume Laurant, the film is a whimsical depiction of contemporary Parisian life, set in Montmartre. It tells the story of a shy waitress, played by Audrey Tautou, who decides to change the lives of those around her for the better, while struggling with her own isolation. The film was an international co-production between companies in France and Germany.
Amélie won best film at the European Film Awards; it won four César Awards (including Best Film and Best Director), two BAFTA Awards (including Best Original Screenplay), and was nominated for five Academy Awards.
Amélie Poulain is a young woman who has grown up isolated from other children. Raphaël, her taciturn, schizoid ex-Army-doctor father, mistakenly believes that she suffers from a form of hypertension because of her high heart rate. This is actually caused by the rare thrill of physical contact with her father, who only ever touches her during medical check-ups. Amandine, her mother, is a neurotic schoolteacher, who sees to Amélie’s education at home. In 1979, Amandine dies when Amélie is only six years old; she is the victim of a freak accident involving a Québécoise woman who commits suicide by jumping off the top of Notre Dame Cathedral and lands on Amélie’s mother. Raphaël withdraws even further as a result, and devotes his life to building in the garden a rather eccentric memorial to Amandine, complete with a container of her ashes. Left even more alone, Amélie develops an unusually active imagination.
As a young woman, Amélie is a waitress in The Two Windmills, which is a small Montmartre café, run by a former circus performer. The café is staffed and frequented by a collection of eccentrics.
At age 23, having spurned romantic relationships following a few disappointing efforts, Amélie finds contentment in simple pleasures, such as dipping her hand into sacks of grain, cracking crème brûlée with a teaspoon, skipping stones across St. Martin’s Canal, guessing how many couples in Paris are having an orgasm at one moment, and letting her imagination roam free.
On August 31, 1997, Amélie, shocked upon hearing the news of Princess Diana’s death on television, drops a bottle cap, which loosens a bathroom wall tile. Behind the loose tile, she finds an old metal box of childhood memorabilia hidden by a boy who lived in her apartment decades earlier. Fascinated by this find, she resolves to track down the now adult man who placed it there and return it to him, making a deal with herself in the process: if she finds him and it makes him happy, she will devote her life to bringing happiness to others.
Amélie meets her reclusive neighbour, Raymond Dufayel, a painter who continually repaints Luncheon of the Boating Party by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. He is known as ‘the Glass Man’ because of his brittle bone condition. With his help, she tracks down the former occupant, and places the box in a phone booth, ringing the number as he passes to lure him there. Upon opening the box, the man, moved to tears, has an epiphany as long-forgotten childhood memories come flooding back. He then finds his way into the same bar as Amelie and vows to reconcile with his estranged family. On seeing the positive effect she had on him, she resolves from that moment on to do good in the lives of others.