Study Guide

Amélie Versions of Reality

Versions of Reality

NARRATOR: Deprived of playmates, slung between a neurotic and an iceberg, Amélie retreats into her imagination.

This right here explains Amélie's overactive imagination. She has no other outlet, because her parents keep her at home, and both her mother and father seem to have been born totally without imaginations.

NARRATOR: The neighbor's comatose wife has chosen to get all her life's sleep in one go.

This is one of young Amélie's more humorous fantasies. She has whimsical ways of explaining some dark things in reality.

[Amélie looks at the sky and sees clouds shaped like bears and bunnies.]

When Amélie looks around at the world, it's difficult to tell sometimes if what she's seeing is real, or if it's just something she sees in her own head. These clouds are one example. Any kid can make a cloud look like a shape, but is the cloud actually in that shape?

NARRATOR: A neighbor fools her into thinking her camera causes accidents. Having taken pictures all afternoon, Amélie is petrified. She starts at the TV racked by the guilt of causing a huge fire, two derailments, a jumbo jet crash.

The irony here is that while Amélie realizes that simply taking pictures doesn't cause accidents—despite her fears about it—later, by literally taking pictures (those in Nino's photo album), she changes both of their lives forever.

COLLIGNON'S FATHER: Bredoteau. The name you're after. But if I say it, it won't count. I'm senile.

Collignon's mother doesn't believe anything her husband says, because he's "senile." She believes that just because he punches holes in her plants with a hole punch, he lives on an entirely different plane of reality. Turns out he was right, after all, though.

[Amélie imagines her funeral as a global event, like Lady Diana's] "Amélie Poulain, Godmother of Outcasts, Madonna of the Unloved, finally succumbed to exhaustion."

Amélie might be overselling her good deeds a bit here, but it's nice having something to aspire to, we guess. Maybe her imagination is getting a little overactive because she's feeling more and more desperate.

[Amélie imagines herself as Zorro after pranking Collignon.]

After cutting Collignon's shoelaces, dumping salt in his booze, and swapping his toothpaste for foot cream, she—in her imagination—carves a Z into his door, like Zorro, showing that she fancies herself a hero of the people.

[Nino's pictures tell him about Amélie.]

This scene mirrors an earlier scene, in which Amélie's paintings talk to her. Amélie and Nino both have these little fantasies in the moments right before they fall asleep, so it's tough to tell if they're actively imagining them or if they're dreams.

NARRATOR: Nino is late. Amélie can only see two explanations. 1. He didn't get the photo. 2. Before he could assemble it a gang of bank robbers took him hostage. The cops gave chase. They got away but he causes a crash. When he came to, he'd lost his memory. An ex-con picked him up, mistook him for a fugitive and shipped him to Istanbul. There he met some Afghan raiders who took him to steal some Russian warheads. But their truck hit a mine in Tajikistan. He survived, took to the hills, and became a Mujahedeen.

Okay, this is ridiculous and funny, but it shows the dangerous excess of Amélie's overactive imagination—and it shows how quickly she can talk herself out of something.

AMÉLIE'S TELEVISION: Dufayel's attempts to meddle are intolerable! If Amélie chooses to live in a dream and remain an introverted young woman, she has an absolute right to mess up her life!

Amélie's TV, which usually has such nice things to say about her in her imagination, criticizes her here. She knows it's time to turn things around when even her fantasies turn against her.

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