Director: Michael Haneke
Writer: Michael Haneke
Cast: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert, Alexandre Tharaud, William Shimell, Ramón Agirre, Rita Blanco, Carole Franck, Dinara Drukarova, Laurent Capelluto, Jean-Michel Monroc, Suzanne Schmidt, Damien Jouillerot, Walid Afkir
Synopsis: Georges and Anne are in their eighties. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, who is also a musician, lives abroad with her family. One day, Anne has an attack. The couple's bond of love is severely tested.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material including a disturbing act, and for brief language
A heartfelt romantic tale about an elderly couple
When it comes to love stories, sometimes the simplest ones can turn out to be the most heartfelt. Although I wouldn't dare say that "Amour" is the best foreign film that I've ever seen, nor would I ever say this is one of the best love stories out there, but it's arguably one of the most heartfelt ones ever made.
The movie is fairly simplistic, as it tells the story about an elderly couple in their eighties. They're both retired music teachers, and seem to be cultivated. Their daughter is a professional musician that lives abroad, with her own family. Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) is a loving husband, and father that would do anything for his wife, Anne (Emmanuelle Riva).
Sadly, one day things start to change, when Anne suffers from an attack. Gradually, her condition gets worse which tests the bonds of their love, as Georges tries his best to take care of her. Anne slowly starts to lose feeling on the right side of her body, which makes her scared and nervous. Georges tries his best to take care of her, as Anne forces him to promise to never put her in a nursing home; which he willingly agrees.
It doesn't take long before she loses her ability to walk, and it eventually gets to the point that she can't even feed herself anymore. Indeed, it's truly painful to watch onscreen, as one can't help but wonder how any of us would react in either Anne or Georges' situation.
Indeed, if you're looking for a truly heartfelt love story, then you'll definitely find it in "Amour." Not only does it show how deep a person will go to try to provide for the person they care about, but it's also a testament to how much a bond can hold up even through difficult times.
(Warning: Possible spoiler alert in this paragraph) However, the part that impressed me the most was the ending that reminded me of another movie, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." I won't divulge too much about what happens, but lets just say the ending is every bit as emotional. Around the end, there's even a nice metaphor for audiences to pick up on, as it ends with an open ending that'll be sure to delight it's viewers.
Although I wouldn't say this is one of the best foreign movies that I've seen, but it's worth checking out. Apart from a few pacing issues where it seems like the film drags it's feet sometimes, it's actually a very enjoyable film.
As for the acting performances, I can see why Emmanuelle Riva was nominated for an Oscar for this role, as she definitely managed to convey the internal pain of her character; without saying too much. Not an easy feat for any other actress out there, but she makes it look easy.
As for her co-star, Jean-Louis Trintignant, I'm a bit surprised he wasn't nominated, as his performance also merits a Oscar nomination as well. Not only does he retain a quiet integrity about his character, but like Emmanuelle, he's able to convey so much internal conflict while saying very little at all.
Throughout most of the movie, it predominantly takes place in this elderly couple's apartment. Granted, they are shown going out around the beginning, but most of the film takes place in that apartment; which makes most of the film drag a lot, as I mentioned earlier. Therefore, it's doubtful that "Amour" would appeal to most mainstream movie audiences, as you'd really have to be into foreign and/or Independent films to really appreciate it.
However, it's easy to see why this film has garnered so much praise around Oscar time, as it's definitely a shoe in to win "Best Foreign Language Film" this year. As for the other categories it's nominated for like "Best Picture" and "Best Original Screenplay", I honestly doubt it, but I've been wrong before.
The story is arguably one of the most touching ones that I've ever seen, and it's amazing how well these characters were portrayed. As you watch the film, a part of you can't help but feel sympathetic for them, but at the same time, you also come to admire them as well.
For example, seeing Georges go above and beyond to tend to his wife is not only sad, but you also feel admiration for his character, in how he handles the situation. In someways, it forces the audience to ask itself what they would do in his situation? Oh hell, what would any of us do if we were placed in Anne's position? Indeed, these aren't easy questions to answer, but it's sad reality that some couples face each day.
Having said all that, if you're into foreign movies, then I'd definitely check it out once it comes out on DVD/Blue-Ray. However, I wouldn't pay to see this in theaters. Overall, it's worth checking out at a rating of three out of four.