Plot summary (with possible spoilers): Set in Paris shortly after Princess Diana’s death, Amelie tells the story of a 23-year-old cafe waitress with a sunny disposition and rich imagination. We begin with a 10-minute vignette of what Amelie’s childhood was like, and how she was isolated and friendless, thus leading her to rely on herself for amusement. That’s an important component of her personality as an adult, and is what ends up driving the film.
One day, Amelie finds a rusty tin box hidden behind the baseboard in her apartment bathroom. Inside, she discovers the type of “treasure” that could have only been valued by a young boy. She decides to track down the owner of the box, who must be in his 50’s by now, and return the item to him. She does, and is so gratified by the man’s overwhelming joy that she resolves to continue doing nice things for people.
We see Amelie’s various good deeds, which include describing city scenes for a blind man and bringing together two lonely regulars at her cafe. Then we see Amelie fall in love with a young man who collects discarded photos at subway photo booths. The young man, Nino, who works at a pornography store, is unaware that Amelie is attracted to him. Instead of just being straightforward about it, Amelie leads him on a wild goose chase, sending him clues about meeting places and so forth. Finally, Amelie gathers the courage to come face to face with Nino, and viewers are left to assume that they begin a relationship together.
- Well, there’s no question that this was a very sweet, lighthearted film. It’s a good one to watch when you need a laugh or an escape from the daily grind.
- I thought the gnome storyline was great! I know this thing about stealing a garden gnome and photographing it in exotic places wasn’t original to this film, but it was executed hilariously here.
- How could you not like the main character? She was so nice and innocent, and truly wanted the best for people. I’m glad she found her own happiness in the end.
- I thought the film ran out of steam towards the end, and could have benefited from a shorter run time. Trim off 15-20 minutes, and it would have been much better.
- Though this was good, it wasn’t “OMG, I have to see that again!” good, nor was it something that will likely stick with me for a long time. I saw it last week, but I only remember the most basic details from it. I don’t think the filmmakers intended the garden gnome to be the most memorable point!
Overall, I thought Amelie was a very good film. It’s terrific upon first viewing because it is so fresh, whimsical, and fun. But I’m not sure how well it would hold up on repeated viewings. I give it 4 stars out of 5.