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Amour

Amour: Beautiful, Heart-Wrenching Drama About Enduring Love

  • Emmanuelle RivaIsabelle Huppert...
  • Drama
  • Out now
  • Michael Haneke
reviewed by
Marija Loncarevic
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Amour: Beautiful, Heart-Wrenching Drama About Enduring Love

“Film
is twenty-four lies per second at the service of truth, or at the service of
the attempt to find the truth” – Michael Haneke.

This is just one of many sharp-witted quotes from the extremely gifted
Austrian-born screenwriter and director, Michael Haneke. The filmmaker is
famous for speaking the truth and nothing but the truth – or at least his own
adaption of it.  His distinguished style often portrays deeply disturbing
imagery, most frequently played out in his uninviting worlds of modern society.

Brutal honesty seems to be the focal point in his latest feature, Amour: a compelling story of love,
partnership and loss – which Haneke delivers through a quietly stirring work of
art.

Georges (Trintignant) and Anne (Riva) have enjoyed decades of marriage and now,
as retired musicians, share a comfortable and undisrupted life in their upscale
Parisian apartment.  The devoted couple are first seen attending a concert; the y still hold hands and shower each other with
the sincerest of compliments and the love they share, even after all the years
together, is evident and never needs to be overstated.

Unfortunately, their happy coexistence soon reaches a grinding halt when, one
morning over a cosy breakfast, Anne suffers a stroke.  This quiet, and yet
very disturbing, scene is only the start of a physical and mental decline which
sees her life partner deteriorating alongside her as he desperately tries to
keep his promise of not admitting her to a hospital.

Haneke has structured the film so that viewers are locked in the apartment
alongside Georges and Anne – which is where almost the entire film plays out.
Their own personal hell is overpowering there’s nowhere to run.  Haneke
doesn’t hold back in his depiction of Anne’s deterioration; her loss of motor
functions and language, increased immobility and dementia are vivid, moving and
at times, highly distressing.

In spite of everything, the couple’s long-standing love is unwavering and
strong.  It soon becomes very clear that they only have each other –
regardless of all the pity, sympathy and support received from both family and
friends.  

The towering
performances are what make this story such a profound experience. Both Riva and
Trintignant are on top of their game and infuse an incredible amount of
integrity to their characters. Riva’s physical deformation is astonishing and
Trintignant’s quiet suffering and emotional turmoil is touching.

 

Amour is
unsentimental yet full of love and weighty compassion. Extra handkerchiefs are
highly recommended.

Like This? Try

The White Ribbon (2009), The Piano Teacher (2001), Funny Games (1997).

360 Tip

Talented actress, Emanuelle Riva, became the oldest actress ever to be ever nominated for a Best Actress Oscar, at the ripe age of 84. 

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