The film Amélie begins with rapid-fire French narration of the events that lead up to the birth of the main character, Amélie. We see a short montage of her growing up before settling in on her as a shy young waitress living in Paris and observing the events of the world going on around her. The journey we follow starts with her discovering an old box of trinkets that belonged to a young boy who once lived in her apartment. After putting in the effort to find its owner and reunite him with his lost memories, and seeing the enormously positive effect it had on him, Amélie realizes she can influence more people’s lives with her subtle actions. Soon she is sneaking into a grumpy grocer’s apartment to leave him a few surprises, and playing matchmaker with a few of the people in the cafe where she works. Her experiences peeking into other people’s worlds eventually leads her into an ongoing series of games with a man she falls in love with. By the end, the audience is invested in seeing them finally meet each other, which they do as we watch their happy ending and the now happy lives of some of the people Amélie has touched.
I personally loved this movie. The story is cute and amusing, and the characters are fleshed out with interesting traits and backstories. The visual style of the film is beautiful and unique, using well framed shots and a good deal of closeups to help the audience perceive what Amélie is thinking and feeling. The colors used are a striking part of the style, with an emphasis on reds, greens, and yellows but only very muted, if any, blues. I also enjoyed the narration, which described each character in an interesting way by listing their likes and dislikes immediately upon their introduction. Small bits of animation are inserted in various places to emphasize a piece of the story like Amélie’s racing heart or her feeling of melting in a certain situation. Blurred, shaking movements on screen indicate that time has passed while she is traveling from place to place. The style felt familiar to me the entire time I was watching, but it was not until afterwards that I learned the reason why. The color palette and overall style of the film is incredibly similar to the TV show Pushing Daisies, which I watched and fell in love with over the summer. Looking into the similarities reveals that the visual style of Pushing Daisies was actually heavily influenced by that of Amélie. Knowing that now and looking back at the film, it is easy to see that there is more to it than just matching color gradients. One of the great things about Pushing Daisies is its narration, which introduces each of its characters with their exact age down to the minute, much like the listing of likes and dislikes in Amélie. There are other parallels as well, which can be seen in parts of the stories themselves. I am so happy that the show found inspiration in this film, because it is such an aesthetically pleasing way to present a story on screen.