Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Film Amelie
Imagination is an intrinsic part of the human experience. It has the power to mold reality by defining the limits of possibility and affecting perception. Both Alan White and Irving Singer examine aspects of this power in their respective works The Language of Imagination and Feeling and Imagination. White delineates how imagination is a necessary precursor to possibility (White 179) while Singer primarily illustrates imagination's effect on human relationships, such as love (Singer 29-48). Despite their different focuses, White and Singer demonstrate the impact that imagination has on human perceptions of reality. Jean-Pierre Jeunet's film Amelie explores this facet of imagination: the film provides a poignant depiction of imagination's influence as the title character Amelie exacts changes in her life and in the lives of others with her boundless imagination.
In the chapter entitled "The Imaginable and the Possible," Alan White argues that imagination is the key factor in testing the "acceptability of something as possible" (White 183). In seeking to answer the questions whether what is possible is imaginable and whether what is imaginable is possible, White examines a variety of seemingly impossible ideas, such as the three-dimensional triangle. From these examples, he
concludes that the possible must be conceivable by the imagination but that the imagination's capacity to visualize extends beyond the mere possible (White 179-183).
Amelie addresses this dichotomy between the limitations of the possible and the unfettered possibilities of the imagination in a less didactic manner. Instead of intangible ideas, the film illustrates the link between imagination and possibility through the characters themselves. Amelie stands unmatched in regards to sheer imaginative ability. As a result, Amelie's use of her imagination throughout the film allows her to solve problems in ways the other characters simply failed to see.
Between pursuits of her love interest, Amelie takes it upon herself to help the other characters in the film. Through her interactions with the other characters, A great contrast can be seen between the title character and the supporting cast. Whereas Amelie seems to bend the rules of reality with her imagination, many of the other character are locked down by their inability to imagine other possibilities. In helping these characters, Amelie's imagination also expands their imaginations and beliefs.
Shortly after the opening sequences, the film introduces the landlady of Amelie's apartment, Madeleine Wallace. The maudlin woman mourns the loss of her lover Adrien but cannot resolve her feelings for him since he died while in the midst of an affair with his secretary. For Madeleine, the realm of possibility is confined by these facts; likewise, she is confined to the depths of despair. To allow Madeleine to move on, Amelie injects a new possibility into her mind by forging a...