Music can make or break a movie. If the soundtrack is stunning it can mean great success and longevity for the film. Even if the storyline is reused in another film and people don’t have a desire to watch the original movie again, the music stands as a unique reminder. It keeps the film alive in our hearts and makes us long to watch the film again whenever we hear those beautiful melodies that we know and love. On the other hand a movie with a lackluster soundtrack is often times more forgettable and tends not to capture our hearts.
Without question, Amelie falls into the first category. Its soundtrack is phenomenal. Amelie is an incredibly well loved film and much of that is due to its incredible score composed by Yann Tiersen. Tiersen uses many instruments, including some very unique ones to complete the sound of the film. That includes the use of a bicycle wheel at the end of “La Dispute,” the song that plays over the opening titles. He also uses accordions and harpsichords that emphasize the ideal France that the director, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, portrays with his filming style (Happélie). The music is so beautifully romantic and also incredibly happy. The music soars and swells with joy right along with Amelie when she rides through the streets of Paris with the blind man describing everything she sees to him.
One of the interesting elements of the soundtrack is that Tiersen wasn’t originally supposed to compose the score. Jeunet had not even heard of him at the start of the filming process, it wasn’t until one of his production assistants starting playing a CD of Tiersen’s other works that Jeunet discovered him (Cusumano). As soon as he heard the composer’s work, Jeunet fell in love with Teirsen’s sound. It was one of life’s funny little accidents that made a huge impact on the film and its success.
The soundtrack for Amelia has definitely helped the success of the film. It easy to see that is as loved as the story itself, if not even slightly more. All you have to do to see that is to start playing the soundtrack and wait for someone around you to light up with joy as they hear the melodies of one of their favorite film’s score. You might even hear them start to get excited and hum along or start talking about how much they love the film.