Thoughts on AméliePosted: October 14, 2012
One of my closest friends has told me to watch Amélie (2001) since college. I never had anything against the film I just never sat down to watch it. When you plan on watching a foreign film you kind of have to be in the right state of mind. You are going to have to pay closer attention (because you are reading the dialogue instead of listening to it) and sometimes you may miss subtle visual elements in the film. I finally watched Amélie and I really feel like it deserves the level of praise it was given by my friend.
Amélie grows up very sheltered by her parents because her father, a physician, believes she has a heart condition. Isolated from her peers she becomes independent and introverted. Her imagination runs wild and she finds ways to create her own happiness without companionship. Amélie eventually leaves home as a bright and capable young woman, but struggles to find her place in social situations and in her community. Being alone comes easily to her, but that doesn’t mean she enjoys it all the time. Her journey is filled with funny characters and ridiculous situations but manages to never feel over the top.
This quirky French film helped me, a very cynical individual, remember the following things:
1. That there are people in the world that do good things without wanting credit for it. It is easy to forget these individuals and also to forget to do this yourself sometimes. One day last summer as my friends and I finished up dinner, our waiter came over and told us our bill had been taken care of and we were all set. A girl around our age, who we had noticed seated by herself, had paid for our meals because it was the anniversary of her father’s death. She always celebrated this day by doing a random act of kindness in her father’s memory. In a similar fashion Amélie attempts to bring happiness to those around her with no agenda or personal gain and it is beautiful.
2. That is it okay to have an over active imagination sometimes…even in your twenties. Amélie retains a sense of childlike innocence that allows her to experience the beauty of life. Amélie as a child is very similar to the 23 year old version we spend most of the film with. Sure there are down falls of having a childlike disposition, but a healthy dose of that from time to time can’t hurt.
3. Love/relationships are worth the risk of rejection and/or failure. Amélie’s neighbor and friend, nicknamed “Glass Man” because of his very fragile bones, says it best:
“So, my little Amélie, you don’t have bones of glass. You can take life’s knocks. If you let this chance pass, eventually, your heart will become as dry and brittle as my skeleton. So, go get him, for Pete’s sake!”
Without getting too personal, I just want to say the Amélie definitely taught me a thing or two and I will gladly revisit the film on my more cynical days. Happy Film watching!