This is a bold statement, but I'm just going to say it: I truly believe that Amelie is one of the most perfect movies ever made. Anyone who knows me has seen my subtle obsession with the film as the two most memorable paintings from Amelie's bedroom are also hanging on my wall - the Dog with Cone and Fowl with Pearls by German painter, Michael Sowa. Not that either is particularly an attractive painting - frankly they are pretty weird - but when I look at them I'm reminded how similar I am to the heroine. In my life, I seek first to bring joy to others before ever considering doing so for myself. This is a beautiful lesson to us all, that despite how much love we give and how little we ask for in return, there is still plenty of love to give back to ourselves - hard as it may be for us to embrace and accept.
Just a heads up for anyone who has not seen the film, it is a French film set in Paris - specifically Montmartre - yet the subtitles are pretty accurate translation-wise. This was one film that helped me to refine my French vocabulary (and my accent). The film's title in French is, "Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain" which literally translates to "The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain." Perhaps the American film association thought that the title gave too much away, so if you search for it anywhere in America the title is simply, "Amélie."
In a nutshell, without giving too much away, Amélie is raised by eccentric parents who believe she is not well enough to be around other children, so she is left to cultivate a very active imagination and a mischievous personality. As an adult she moves to Montmartre and becomes a waitress in a cafe full of more eccentric people. She is not too keen on romantic relationships as making any emotional connections with others is difficult for her, so she lets her imagination run free and she enjoys the simple pleasures in life. After discovering an old metal box of childhood memorabilia hidden by a young boy who lived in her apartment decades earlier, she resolves to track him down and return the box. She makes a promise to herself that if he is moved by this gesture, she will devote her life to bringing happiness to others.
The result is evident, and she happily embarks on her new mission to bring happiness to those around her, although they are never fully aware that it is HER making their lives so great, except for one neighbor, Raymond Dufayel, who suffers from a rare bone disease and is confined to his apartment. He sees all of the good, and the mischief, that she brings to others but is ultimately the one who convinces her have the courage to seek happiness for herself.
Aside from the story, the music, the coloring, the visual effects and the art on the walls are all incredible. It's a happy, sweet, feel-good movie without being a ridiculous rom-com that ultimately concludes with a timeless message: "Show the same love to yourself as you do to others, and vice versa." While at the same time demonstrating how "we reap what we sow." Aside from the R-rating, I would argue that this kind of film is important for children of all ages to watch. We may not all be introverts like Amélie, but the desire to love and to be loved transcends all languages and cultures.