Amelie: Dream, Imagine, Reality

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What happens when we aren’t looking?

Have you ever stopped to think about all the things going on in this very moment? Those funny, bizarre, and random details of life that happen although no one notices. Take a minute to look around. How much change is in the drawer of your desk? What music is playing in the background of the coffee shop? What is the person sitting next to you doing?

This isn’t a set up for one of those “if a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it” riddles. This is the motif of the 5-time Oscar nominated French film, Amelie. 

Amelie is a film about a young woman who sees things that others don’t – simply because she notices them. And she is able to notice them because she remains just outside the “normal” boundaries of society; in the middle of the world of her own imagination.

The film follows the story of Amelie’s sudden inspiration to become a “do-gooder.” Using the small details she notices, Amelie gets to work improving the quality of people’s lives – reconnecting them to their pasts, to love, to justice, and to each other – all while remaining a stranger to relationship herself.

Her story takes on the character of Oskar’s in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close; a young woman who doesn’t quite ‘fit in’ with the world begins a quest that forces her to engage in that very world. It’s a story that unfolds with a narrative pace similar to Stranger Than Fiction. And Amelie sees herself as a sort of Zorro; a mysterious, hidden hero fighting for the good of the downtrodden.

Amelie is many things. She’s a dreamer, an oddball, a daughter, a waitress, and a maker of miracles. Like the rest of us, however, she’s also afraid. Afraid of what might happen if you open yourself up to relationship and love. Living in the made up reality of a fanciful imagination allows Amelie to escape and engage life on her own terms. But what happens when we step in to messy reality? When we take real risks to find love?

Amelie is a story about helping one another take the risks that move us towards real life.