The story of a young, naive and a little bit odd girl's adventures to find love in Paris.
The many scenes in the film that were shot on location in France were first cleared of all trash and debris by the crew, to maintain the "fantastic" feel of the film.
5 More Trivia
During her childhood, Amélie Poulain is mistakenly diagnosed by her father, an ex-army doctor, with hypertension (in reality, Amélie’s heart is beating faster during her medical check-ups because it is the only time her otherwise strict and reclusive father makes physical contact with her). Because of this, Raphael, Amélie’s father decides to isolate Amélie from other children. Amélie’s slightly neurotic mother, Amandine, teaches Amélie at home. When Amélie is six years old her mother dies by freak accident, a Quebecoise woman jumps off of the Cathedral at Notre Dame and lands on her. As a result Amélie’s father becomes even more reclusive and eccentric. Left alone by her parents and isolated from other children, Amélie develops a very vivid and unusual imagination.
At age 23, she is a waitress in The Two Windmills, a small café. The café is frequented by many eccentric characters and is owned by a former circus performer. Uninterested, or so she thinks, in romantic relationships, shy Amélie amuses herself with a list of simple pleasures, such as imagining how many couples in Paris are having an orgasm at one moment.
One day, Amélie happens upon an old little box of childhood photographs and trinkets inside a tile in her bathroom. Intensely curious, she resolves to find the old owner of her apartment and return this box to him. She goes to her next door neighbor, Raymond Dufayel (also known as the glass man due to his brittle bones), a man who recreates one painting over and, Pierre-Auguste’s Luncheon of the Boating Party. With his help, she finds the now adult boy and returns the box to him. The man is moved to tears by what is inside and decides to reconnect with his family, who he is forgotten. Amélie vows from that point forward that she will help to improve the lives of others.
Using her unusual imagination, Amélie begins to enact clever schemes to aid others. She helps a blind man reach the Metro station and gives him a vivid description of the sights about him. She steals her father’s garden gnome and has a friend in the airline industry take photos of it in different exotic locations, coaxing her father to finally follow his dream to tour the world (a sub-plot inspired by the Garden Gnome Liberation Front). She plays matchmaker and starts a romance between a customer of the bar and one of her co-workers and reassures the concierge whose husband recently abandoned her that he had sent her a reconciliatory letter before dying and also aids a young man working for the neighborhood greengrocer by playing practical jokes on the greengrocer until he begins to question his sanity (perhaps a little morally dubious, but this is France after all).
All the while, however, the neighbor and painter Mr. Dufayel begins to make some astute observations as to her character. He broaches the subject by discussing the painting that he has attempted to recreate dozens and dozens of times with her. After so many attempts, he explains, he has never managed to quite achieve the expression he wants from the girl drinking a glass of water in the painting. The two discuss the character and what she could be thinking. The girl begins to strongly resemble Amélie in their portrayal. Currently having a crush on a stranger she sees often who collects the discarded photos from passport booths, Amélie begins to analyze her own lonely life via this imagined character and her discussions with Raymond shed light on her own personality and predicament.
She accidentally bumps into the young man one day. Amélie realizes there that she is in love. When the young man drops his photo album of strangers’ passport photos, she quickly grabs it and runs off. She learns from the album that his name is Nino Quincampoix. Using the album, she runs about leading him on with it until finally returning it to him anonymously. However, shy, naïve girl that she is, she can’t bring herself to meet him face to face. She attempts to arrange a meeting with him but overhears a conversation with him and a co-worker that her imagination wildly misinterprets, she loses hope and runs off. Luckily, Raymond Dufayel consoles her and gives a rational look at what her imagination painted. She listens to him and finally approaches Nino and the two fall in love.