‘Amour’ Movie Review
There are movies that stay with you long after you’ve left the theatre, yet that you would never voluntarily watch again. The new film Amour, by Michael Hanake, is a prime example of this paradox. As beautiful as it was horrifying, Amour tells the tragic love story of Anne and Georges (Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant), an elderly couple who are forever changed when Anne suffers a devastating stroke.
Really, I think I’m being too simplistic in that description. The movie only gives us a glimpse of what Anne and Georges were like before the stroke, and everything afterwards is so painful that it had me in steady tears for two straight hours. No punches are pulled, no grisly aspect spared. The movie is about Anne’s decline as she loses control of her mind and her body. But as if that wasn’t hard enough, we also have to watch Georges as he tries and ultimately fails to anchor his wife to the world, to restore her back to the woman he loved for most of his life.
For anyone who might not know, “Amour” is French for “love,” and there is love in this film, perhaps more love than you can find in a romance novel or a Hollywood blockbuster. But it isn’t pretty, glamorous or sanitized. This love is raw and real and sometimes violent. Georges is often a hard character to like. And after two hours, the audience even finds themselves frustrated with Anne at times. Why doesn’t she get better? Why doesn’t she try to help herself?
If you have ever lost a loved one to a long disease, or even if you just fear your own mortality, this may not be the film for you. It is excruciating, but there is an undeniable beauty to the movie that is already putting it at the top of the lists for the upcoming awards season. I have no doubt that it will do well because it forces its audience to confront the thing that binds all of us together: the fact that someday we will die.
The question it makes us ask ourselves is will we have someone who love us by our side when it happens? We all say that we want that, but would we wish that on someone we love? How would that change them? What lengths would we want them to go to for us?
Is life worth living when the quality is gone?
Amour opens in limited release on December 19th.