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Against a bright green background is a young woman, wearing a red sweater. Her dark hair is cut into short bob and her lips are red and her skin pale. She smiles mischievously. The full title is included below in large yellow lettering.
Theatrical release poster
FrenchLe Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain
Directed byJean-Pierre Jeunet
Screenplay byGuillaume Laurant
Story by
  • Guillaume Laurant
  • Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Produced by
CinematographyBruno Delbonnel
Edited byHervé Schneid
Music byYann Tiersen
Distributed by
Release dates
  • 25 April 2001 (2001-04-25) (France)
  • 16 August 2001 (2001-08-16) (Germany)
Running time
123 minutes[1]
Budget$10 million[4]
Box office$174.4 million[4]

Amélie (French: Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain, pronounced [lə fabylø dɛstɛ̃ d‿ameli pulɛ̃], lit.'The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain') is a 2001 French-language romantic comedy film directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Written by Jeunet with Guillaume Laurant, the film is a whimsical depiction of contemporary Parisian life, set in Montmartre. It tells the story of a shy, introverted and quirky waitress, played by Audrey Tautou, who decides to change the lives of those around her for the better while dealing with her own isolation. The film features an ensemble cast of supporting roles, including Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus, Lorella Cravotta, Serge Merlin, Jamel Debbouze, Claire Maurier, Clotilde Mollet, Isabelle Nanty, Dominique Pinon, Artus de Penguern, Yolande Moreau, Urbain Cancelier, and Maurice Bénichou.

Amélie was released theatrically in France on 25 April 2001 by UGC-Fox Distribution and in Germany on 16 August 2001 by Prokino Filmverleih. The film received widespread critical acclaim, with major praise for Tautou's performance, the cinematography, visuals, production design, sound design, editing, musical score, writing and Jeunet's direction. Amélie won Best Film at the European Film Awards, four César Awards, including Best Film and Best Director, and two British Academy Film Awards, including Best Original Screenplay. It was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Foreign Language Film and Best Original Screenplay. The film was an enormous commercial success, grossing $174.2 million worldwide against a budget of $10 million, and is one of the biggest international successes for a French film.


Amélie works at the Café des 2 Moulins on Montmartre.
A girl in Renoir's 1881 painting Luncheon of the Boating Party provides a key plot point

Amélie Poulain is born in 1974 and brought up by eccentric parents who – incorrectly believing that she has a heart defect – decide to home-school her. To cope with her loneliness, Amélie develops an active imagination and a mischievous personality. When Amélie is six, her mother, Amandine, is killed when a suicidal Canadian tourist jumps from the roof of Notre-Dame de Paris and lands on her. As a result, her father, Raphaël, withdraws more and more from society. Amélie leaves home at the age of 18 and becomes a waitress at the Café des 2 Moulins in Montmartre, which is staffed and frequented by a collection of eccentrics. She is single and lets her imagination roam freely, finding contentment in simple pleasures like dipping her hand into grain sacks, cracking crème brûlée with a spoon, and skipping stones along the Canal Saint-Martin.[5]

On 31 August 1997, startled by the news of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, Amélie drops a plastic perfume-stopper, which dislodges a wall tile and accidentally reveals an old metal box which contains childhood memorabilia hidden by a boy who lived in her apartment decades earlier. Amélie resolves to track down the boy and return the box to him. She promises herself that if it makes him happy, she will devote her life to bringing happiness to others.

After asking the apartment's concierge and several old tenants about the boy's identity, Amélie meets her reclusive neighbour, Raymond Dufayel, an artist with brittle bone disease who replicates Pierre-Auguste Renoir's 1881 painting Luncheon of the Boating Party every year. He recalls the boy's name as "Bretodeau". Amélie finds the man, Dominique Bretodeau, and surreptitiously gives him the box. Moved to tears by the discovery and the memories it holds, Bretodeau resolves to reconcile with his estranged daughter and the grandson he has never met. Amélie happily embarks on her new mission.

Amélie secretly executes complex schemes that positively affect the lives of those around her. She escorts a blind man to the Métro station while giving him a rich description of the street scenes he passes. She persuades her father to follow his dream of touring the world by stealing his garden gnome and having a flight attendant friend mail pictures of it posing with landmarks from all over the world. She starts a romance between her hypochondriacal co-worker Georgette and Joseph, a patron of the cafe. She convinces Madeleine Wallace, the concierge of her block of flats, that the husband who abandoned her had sent her a final conciliatory love letter just before his accidental death years before. She plays practical jokes on Collignon, the nasty greengrocer. Mentally exhausted, Collignon no longer abuses his meek, good-natured assistant Lucien. A delighted Lucien subsequently takes charge at the grocery stand.

Dufayel, having observed Amélie, begins a conversation with her about his painting. Although he has copied the same Renoir painting 20 times, he has never quite captured the look of the girl drinking a glass of water. They discuss the meaning of this character, and over several conversations, Amélie begins projecting her loneliness onto the image. Dufayel recognizes this and uses the girl in the painting to push Amélie to examine her attraction to a quirky young man, Nino Quincampoix, who collects the discarded photographs of strangers from passport photo booths. When Amélie bumps into Nino a second time, she realizes she is falling in love with him. He accidentally drops a photo album in the street. Amélie retrieves it.

Amélie plays a cat-and-mouse game with Nino around Paris before returning his treasured album anonymously. After arranging a meeting at the 2 Moulins, Amélie panics and tries to deny her identity. Her co-worker, Gina, concerned for Amélie's well-being, screens Nino for her; Joseph's comment about this misleads Amélie to believe she has lost Nino to Gina. It takes Dufayel's insight to give her the courage to pursue Nino, resulting in a romantic night together and the beginning of a relationship. The film ends as Amélie experiences a moment of happiness she has found for herself.



Au Marché de la Butte, Rue des Trois Frères, Paris, used as the location of Maison Collignon

In his DVD commentary, Jeunet explains that he originally wrote the role of Amélie for the English actress Emily Watson. In that first draft, Amélie's father was an Englishman living in London. However, Watson's French was not strong, and when she became unavailable to shoot the film, owing to a conflict with the filming of Gosford Park (2001), Jeunet rewrote the screenplay for a French actress. Audrey Tautou was the first actress he auditioned having seen her on the poster for the 1999 film Venus Beauty Institute.

Filming took place mainly in Paris. The Café des 2 Moulins (15 Rue Lepic, Montmartre, Paris) where Amélie works is a real place.[6] Principal photography began from 2 March 2000 to 7 July 2000. [7]

The filmmakers made use of computer-generated imagery (including computer animation),[8][9] and a digital intermediate.[10] The studio scenes were filmed in the MMC Studios Coloneum in Cologne (Germany). The film shares many of the themes in its plot with the second half of the 1994 film Chungking Express.[11][12]


Props of the childhood souvenirs of Dominique Bretodeau that Amélie finds in the metal box in her apartment wall, and a photograph of Amélie holding the box.

The film was released in France, Belgium, and French-speaking western Switzerland in April 2001, with subsequent screenings at various film festivals followed by releases around the world. It received limited releases in North America, the United Kingdom, and Australasia later in 2001.

Cannes Film Festival selector Gilles Jacob described Amélie as "uninteresting", and therefore it was not screened at the festival, although the version he viewed was an early cut without music. The absence of Amélie at the festival caused something of a controversy because of the warm welcome by the French media and audience in contrast with the reaction of the selector.[13] David Martin-Jones, in an article in Senses of Cinema, stated that the film "[wears] its national [French] identity on its sleeve" and that this attracted both audiences of mainstream films and those of arthouse ones.[14]

Subsequent re-releases[edit]

In 2021, Newen Connect's TF1 Studio signed a deal with UGC for international distribution and sales rights to its films, including Amélie. The film was then re-released in multiple countries for its 20th anniversary, including on 11 May 2021 in Italy, by BIM Distribuzione.[15][16][17][4]

In February 2022, while discussing the legacy of Amélie in an interview with The New York Times, Jeunet stated that U.S. distribution rights to the film, previously held by Miramax Zoë, had been acquired by Sony Pictures Classics, with the company planning a re-release in the future.[18] While the distributor did confirm this news, no further developments were reported until late December 2023, when Sony announced their acquisition of distribution rights to the film for North America excluding French Canada and scheduled the film for a theatrical re-release in 250 theatres in the United States on 14 February 2024.[19]


Critical response[edit]

The performance of Audrey Tautou (pictured in 2012) as the title character was acclaimed and earned her César and BAFTA nominations for Best Actress.

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 90% approval rating based on 230 reviews, with an average rating of 8.2/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "The feel-good Amélie is a lively, fanciful charmer, showcasing Audrey Tautou as its delightful heroine."[20] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 69 out of 100, based on 31 critics, indicating "generally positive" reviews.[21]

Alan Morrison from Empire magazine gave Amélie five stars and called it "one of the year's best, with crossover potential along the lines of Cyrano de Bergerac (1990) and Il Postino (1994). Given its quirky heart, it might well surpass them all".[22] Paul Tatara of CNN praised Amélie's playful nature. In his review, he wrote, "Its whimsical, free-ranging nature is often enchanting; the first hour, in particular, is brimming with amiable, sardonic laughs".[23]

The film was attacked by critic Serge Kaganski of Les Inrockuptibles for an unrealistic and picturesque vision of a bygone French society with few ethnic minorities.[24] Jeunet dismissed the criticism by pointing out that the photo collection contains pictures of people from numerous ethnic backgrounds, and that Jamel Debbouze, who plays Lucien, is of Moroccan descent.[citation needed]

Box office[edit]

The film opened on 432 screens in France and grossed 43.2 million French Franc ($6.2 million) in its opening week, placing it at number one.[25] It stayed in the top 10 for 22 weeks.[26] It was the highest-grossing film in France for the year with a gross of $41 million.[27] The film also grossed $33 milion in the United States and Canada theatrically,[4] making it the highest-grossing French-language film of all time in North America.[28][29]


Award Category Recipient Result
Academy Awards[30] Best Foreign Language Film France Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Guillaume Laurant and Jean-Pierre Jeunet Nominated
Best Art Direction Aline Bonetto and Marie-Laure Valla Nominated
Best Cinematography Bruno Delbonnel Nominated
Best Sound Vincent Arnardi, Guillaume Leriche, Jean Umansky Nominated
British Academy Film Awards Best Film Amélie Nominated
Best Direction Jean-Pierre Jeunet Nominated
Best Actress in a Leading Role Audrey Tautou Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Guillaume Laurant and Jean-Pierre Jeunet Won
Best Cinematography Bruno Delbonnel Nominated
Best Production Design Aline Bonetto Won
Best Editing Hervé Schneid Nominated
Best Film Music Yann Tiersen Nominated
Best Film Not in the English Language Amélie Nominated
César Awards Best Film Won
Best Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet Won
Best Actress Audrey Tautou Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Jamel Debbouze Nominated
Rufus Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Isabelle Nanty Nominated
Best Writing Guillaume Laurant and Jean-Pierre Jeunet Nominated
Best Cinematography Bruno Delbonnel Nominated
Best Production Design Aline Bonetto Won
Best Costume Design Madeline Fontaine Nominated
Best Editing Hervé Schneid Nominated
Best Music Yann Tiersen Won
European Film Awards Best Film Jean-Pierre Jeunet Won
Best Director Won
Best Actress Audrey Tautou Nominated
Best Cinematography Bruno Delbonnel Won
French Syndicate of Cinema Critics Best French Film Amélie Won
Golden Eagle Award[31] Best Foreign Language Film Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Foreign Language Film Jean-Pierre Jeunet Nominated
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Crystal Globe Won
Toronto International Film Festival People's Choice Award Amélie Won

Amélie was selected by The New York Times as one of "The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made".[32] The film placed No. 2 in Empire magazine's "The 100 Best Films of World Cinema".[33] Paste magazine ranked it second on its list of the 50 Best Movies of the Decade (2000–2009).[34] In August 2016, BBC Magazine conducted a poll on the 21st century's 100 greatest films so far, with Amélie ranking at number 87.[35]

Entertainment Weekly named the film poster one of the best on its list of the top 25 film posters in the past 25 years.[36] It also named Amélie setting up a wild goose chase for her beloved Nino all through Paris as No. 9 on its list of top 25 Romantic Gestures.[37] In 2010, an online public poll by the American Cinematographer – the house journal of the American Society of Cinematographers – named Amélie the best shot film of the decade.[38]

Amelie is rated 37 among the 50 Greatest Romantic Comedies of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine.[39]


The soundtrack to Amélie was composed by Yann Tiersen.[40]

Musical adaptation[edit]

On 23 August 2013, composer Dan Messe, one of the founders and members of the band Hem, confirmed speculation that he would be writing the score for a musical adaptation of Amélie, collaborating with Craig Lucas and Nathan Tysen.[41][42] Messe also confirmed he would be composing all original music for the show and not using the Yann Tiersen score.[43] The musical adaptation premiered at the Berkeley Repertory Theater in August 2015.[44] It opened on Broadway in March 2017 and closed in May 2017.[45] The production started its pre-Broadway engagement at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles in December 2016, with Phillipa Soo in the title role.[46] A London production opened in 2020, with Australian, German, Dutch, and Finnish productions set to open or resume pending the cessation of restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jeunet has distanced himself from the musical due to his distaste for the artform, saying he only sold the rights to raise funds for children's charity "Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque".[47]

Home media[edit]

The film has no overall worldwide distributor, but Blu-ray Discs have been released in Canada and Australia. The first release occurred in Canada in September 2008 by TVA Films. This version did not contain any English subtitles and received criticisms regarding picture quality.[48] In November 2009, an Australian release occurred. This time the version contained English subtitles and features no region coding.[49] Momentum Pictures released a Blu-ray in the UK on 17 October 2011. The film is also available in HD on iTunes and other digital download services.

In the United Kingdom, it was 2013's tenth best-selling foreign-language film on physical home video formats, and the year's third best-selling French film (below The Intouchables and Rust and Bone).[50]


For the 2007 television show Pushing Daisies, a "quirky fairy tale", American Broadcasting Company (ABC) sought an Amélie feel, with the same chords of "whimsy and spirit and magic". Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller said Amélie is his favorite film. "All the things I love are represented in that movie", he said. "It's a movie that will make me cry based on kindness as opposed to sadness". The New York Times' review of Pushing Daisies reported "the Amélie influence on Pushing Daisies is everywhere".[51]

A species of frog was named Cochranella amelie. The scientist who named it said: "This new species of glass frog is for Amélie, protagonist of the extraordinary movie Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain; a film where little details play an important role in the achievement of joie de vivre; like the important role that glass frogs and all amphibians and reptiles play in the health of our planet".[52] The species was described in the scientific journal Zootaxa in an article entitled "An enigmatic new species of Glassfrog (Amphibia: Anura: Centrolenidae) from the Amazonian Andean slopes of Ecuador".[52]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Amelie from Montmartre (Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain) (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 17 July 2001. Archived from the original on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
  2. ^ "Amélie (2001)". BFI. Archived from the original on 24 June 2016. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  3. ^ "Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain". Lumiere. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d "Amélie (2001)". The Numbers. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
  5. ^ The Guardian review, 15 August 2001
  6. ^ "Amélie: filming locations". 23 July 2012.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Arnold, William (8 November 2001). "Inspired 'Amélie' blends solid comedy with cutting-edge special effects". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  9. ^ Bond, Zoe (29 September 2011). "Looking back at Jean Pierre-Jeunet's Amelie". Den of Geek. Archived from the original on 8 June 2019. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  10. ^ "Color schemes: Lensers view new post-prod'n process as an integral tool in their paint box". Variety. 6 January 2005. Archived from the original on 6 January 2006. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  11. ^ "Amelie Movie Review by Anthony Leong from". Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  12. ^ Dickerson, Jeff (10 April 2002). "Audrey Tautou and French film 'Amelie' are pure movie magic". The Michigan Daily. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  13. ^ Tobias, Scott. "Jean-Pierre Jeunet". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  14. ^ Martin-Jones, David (1 March 2011). "Review: 'Colombiana: Europa Corp and the Ambiguous Geopolitics of the Action Movie'". Senses of Cinema.
  15. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (26 February 2021). "Newen Connect-TF1 Studio, UGC Images Sign International Distribution Deal". Variety. Retrieved 26 December 2023.
  16. ^ Aguilar, Carlos (27 April 2021). "The 20th anniversary of the fantastic international career of Amelie". Unifrance. Retrieved 25 December 2023.
  17. ^ "Amélie (2001)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 25 December 2023.
  18. ^ Aguilar, Carlos (11 February 2022). "Whether He's Talking 'Amélie' or 'Bigbug,' Jean-Pierre Jeunet Doesn't Hold Back". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 14 February 2022. Retrieved 25 December 2023.
  19. ^ "Sony Pictures Classics acquires rights to 'Amélie' and sets nationwide theatrical reissue for February 14, 2024" (Press release). Sony Pictures Entertainment. 20 December 2023. Retrieved 25 December 2023.
  20. ^ "Amélie". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 13 February 2024.
  21. ^ "Amélie". Metacritic. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  22. ^ "Empire's Amelie Movie Review". Empire. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  23. ^ "Review: 'Amelie' is imaginative". CNN. 7 November 2001. Archived from the original on 18 May 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  24. ^ "The Amélie Effect". Archived from the original on 23 March 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
  25. ^ "International box office". Variety. 7 May 2001. p. 15. $6,166,914; $1=7FF
  26. ^ Groves, Don (8 October 2001). "'Pie' flies as sequels socre o'seas". Variety. p. 14.
  27. ^ James, Alison (24 December 2001). "Homegrown pix gain in Europe". Variety. p. 7.
  28. ^ "Genre Keyword, Foreign Language". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 18 April 2021.
  29. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (21 February 2000). "ALL-TIME FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILMS IN NORTH AMERICA". Variety. p. 16.
  30. ^ "The 74th Academy Awards (2002) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  31. ^ Золотой Орел 2002 [Golden Eagle 2002]. (in Russian). Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  32. ^ "The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made". The New York Times. 29 April 2003. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
  33. ^ Green, Willow (11 June 2010). "The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema". Empire (film magazine). Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  34. ^ "The 50 Best Movies of the Decade (2000–2009)". Paste Magazine. 3 November 2009. Archived from the original on 12 December 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
  35. ^ "BBC Culture – The 21st Century's 100 greatest films". BBC Magazine. 23 August 2016. Retrieved 28 August 2016.
  36. ^ "Movies: 25 New Classic Posters". Entertainment Weekly. 27 June 2008. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  37. ^ "New Classics: Romantic Gestures". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  38. ^ "Was Amélie Really the Best-Shot Film of the Last Decade?". 29 June 2010. Archived from the original on 1 July 2010. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
  39. ^ "50 Greatest Romantic Comedies of All Time". Rolling Stone. 14 February 2019. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  40. ^ "JEUNET, JEAN-PIERRE: FABULOUS DESTINY OF AMÉLIE". Urban Cinefile. 13 December 2001. Archived from the original on 15 April 2018. Retrieved 5 June 2009.
  41. ^ "Amelie musical to be made for Broadway". BBC. 23 August 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  42. ^ Derschowitz, Jessica (23 August 2013). ""Amelie" becoming a Broadway musical". CBS News. Archived from the original on 4 September 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  43. ^ "'Amelie' Set to be Adapted for Broadway". Broadway Tour. 26 August 2013.
  44. ^ Hurwitt, Robert (14 September 2015). "Fanciful Film Floats Dreamily Onto the Stage with "Amélie"". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  45. ^ Viagas, Robert (17 June 2016). "Hamilton's Phillipa Soo Will Star in Amélie Musical on Broadway". Playbill. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  46. ^ "Amélie, A New Musical". Center Theatre Group. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  47. ^ Richford, Rhonda (28 August 2013). "'Amelie' Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet 'Disgusted' by Musical". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  48. ^ "Amelie Blu-ray (Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain) (2001)". Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  49. ^ "Amelie Blu-ray (Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain) (2001)". Archived from the original on 14 April 2010. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  50. ^ Statistical Yearbook 2014 (PDF) (Report). British Film Institute (BFI). 2014. p. 127. Archived (PDF) from the original on 8 August 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  51. ^ Carter, Bill (5 July 2007). "A Touching Romance, if They Just Don't Touch". The New York Times.
  52. ^ a b Cisneros-Heredia, Diego F.; Meza-Ramos, Paúl (2007). "An enigmatic new species of Glassfrog (Amphibia: Anura: Centrolenidae) from the Amazonian Andean slopes of Ecuador" (PDF). Zootaxa. 1485 (1): 33–41. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.1485.1.3. Archived (PDF) from the original on 7 October 2007.

External links[edit]