Love Theme in Amelie
Amelie, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, is the story of a young girl named Amelie Poulain, who grows up isolated from her age mates because her parents erroneously believe that she has a heart condition. She loses her mother in a freak accident, which causes her father to become reclusive. Left to her own devices, the young girl develops quite the imagination as the narrator puts it, ‘In such a dead world Amelie prefers to dream until she is old enough to leave home.’ When she is slightly older, she goes to work as a server in a small café run by and visited by eccentrics. Here, she decides that she will spend her life helping others. Her interactions with customers and her co-workers lead her on many adventures. Eventually, she discovers that she is in fact very lonely. The realization prompts her to gather her courage, meet with a young man she is attracted to, and begin a relationship.
The themes of love, happiness, and romance are concurrent throughout the entirety of the movie. On the theme of love, Amelie acts as a matchmaker for her middle-aged co-worker and an eccentric patron. Amelie also propagates the theme of love when she convinces Mrs. Wells that her husband had sent her a conciliatory love letter before he abandoned her and accidentally died.
The theme of love is also showcased when Amelie becomes physically attracted to Nino. She knows she has feelings for him but is too shy to approach him. She arranges several meetings with him to give him back his photo album that he had accidentally dropped earlier on. However, every time they meet, she just watches him and refuses to speak to him. Finally, Mr. Dufayel provides insight into the matter. He says to her, ‘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!’ The sentiments encouraged her to pursue Nino and begin a relationship with him.
Happiness is also a strong theme in the story of Amelie. The main character in the movie sets about making other people happy, hoping that she will find contentment from such simple measures. She sets out on an adventure to return some childhood memorabilia to a boy who lived in her apartment decades before. When he is handed back the box full of childhood memories, Bretodeau is moved to tears as he says ‘Life is funny. To a kid, time always drags. Suddenly you are fifty. All that’s left of your childhood…fits in a rusty little box.’ The Box Man vows to reconcile with his daughter and grandson as a result.
Amelie also persuades her father to get out of his reclusive state by convincing him to follow his dreams of travelling around the world. She stole his precious garden gnome and had a flight attendant airmail the pictures of the gnome in different international landmarks. Buoyed by the envy of his gnome for having travelled to all the locations, he embarks on a world tour. Amelie realized that if her father were to fulfill his longtime dream then he might achieve some semblance of happiness.
She also brings happiness to Mrs. Wells by forging a conciliatory letter from her deceased husband. The woman is overcome with happiness and joy at the discovery of this letter. Before the discovery of the letter, the woman had been grieving over his death and believed that he had been cheating on her. Amelie could not stomach seeing her neighbor so upset and that is why she devised the forged letter, to make the woman happy again.
Happiness as a theme is also evident when Amelie stands up for the one-armed Lucien, who is often ridiculed at his place of work, the local grocery. Amelie plays practical jokes on the owner of the grocery such as sneaking into his house and changing his alarm clock, and changing his speed dial number for his mother with the number of a psychic hotline. The jokes end up convincing him that he might be going insane. The owner becomes mentally exhausted and can no longer abuse his assistant Lucien. The assistant eventually takes charge of the grocery stand, which makes him very happy.