Tori Amos – Here In My Head
Favourite Romantic Comedy – Amélie
French title: Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain, which translates to The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain
I’ll start by acknowledging I’ve probably set myself a complicated challenge with this particular notion, as – quite obviously – films generally have dedicated theme songs. With the nature of a theme song being what it is, these things aren’t just loosely associated, but rather the original theme song and film tend to become quite intrinsic to one another. So these can be considered less a theme for the films, and more a theme that summarises something about what they mean to me.
I’m not really a fan of romantic comedies in general, but I suppose the reasons why are applicable to most genres of film – clichés, boring characters, formulaic scriptwriting… All the things that make movies feel like you’ve seen it all before yet they remain instantly forgettable. One of the things that makes this film so special is that it captures what happens to the heart when it loves, rather than doing that thing most other romantic comedies do – make fun of how people react to it. Not to mention that it is probably one of the most charming films ever made, and full of whimsy. And I do like me some whimsy.
As you may have seen in the trailer, Amélie is a French film, starring the gorgeous Audrey Tatou (and please do watch it in its original language, if you decide to see it. Rarely do dubs convey the same level of emotion and/or other necessary things as the actors that spent months getting to know their characters). It’s a little difficult to describe this film in any language other than consistent sighs, particularly as I want to steer clear of spoilers and all the key reasons why I love it would contain exactly that. In a very vague and over-simplified summary, though, it chronicles Amélie’s attempts at bringing a little magic into the world of those around her, while being afraid to truly venture out into it herself.
The music of the soundtrack was composed by Yann Tiersen, with the signature piece (arguably, maybe) being La Valse D’Amélie; below is a solo piano version that is just beautiful:
Even if it was my intention, it would be nigh on impossible to compete with music that is perfect for the film in every way, so the theme I’ve chosen speaks more to one of the lessons I took from it. Here In My Head, like most of Tori’s songs, can be interpreted in a few different ways, but I think the key theme is relevant – namely, the references to what can happen when you live in your head, even though in other ways you can give out so much of yourself. Amélie is a supreme fantasist, and while it means she has a profound effect on those around her, her actions are ultimately of a vicarious nature and she struggles to find a way to connect with the object of her desire in any way other than through a series of contrived, mystery adventures.
I think… Sometimes, no matter how little or how well others may know us, we’re the only one up in that mind of ours and for some that can be a retreat. It’s a safe place to go, where imagination, fantasy and thoughts can be driven by – or to – things that we want, love, need… All the things that we yearn to bring close, because there’s not much that’s closer to a person that what goes on in our thoughts, considering it’s the most private, internal emotional process we have. But in that way it can actually have the opposite effect and distance us from those things in real life. Ultimately it can make it that much harder to come out from there and form real connections with people, where they are subject to the flaws of human nature and dangers inherent in real life and circumstance.
There’s a lot of scenes in the film that (to me) shoot straight at the heart. Little things like the bold gesture of inviting him to her then being too afraid to reveal herself, even though he’s sitting there saying ‘I know it’s you…‘, then watching him leave, literally dissolving into a puddle of water on the floor. While there’s probably countless films that had a scene or two in them that got me a little teary, usually upon a second watch it doesn’t quite have the same impact, but I have to admit that the scene where she’s baking a cake and starts daydreaming about not a different life, but one that’s simply shared with someone else that knows you well – just a little every day circumstance that makes her laugh and cry – gets me every single time.
And so does this song.