Starring: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva
Directed by: Michael Haneke
Written By: Michael Haneke
Rating: PG-13 (US) Running Time: 2 hr 7 min
Amour is a beautiful film that I think everyone should see, because I honestly can’t recall another movie right now that truly captures the essence of what love actually is as well this does. Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva give superb performances as George and Anne – a couple in their eighties, tested after Anne has several strokes. Emmanuelle Riva’s performance as Anne is just heartbreaking as a person desperately holding on to her dignity as her body and mind fail her. Jean-Louis Trintignant is equally as good as her caregiver and protector.
Michael Haneke’s direction is unfussy and straight forward. Allowing for very little movement of the camera to let the actors settle and breathe real life into their parts. On many occasions the camera doesn’t move at all and allows the actors to leave and re-enter the shot. At first I found this a little distracting, but as the film ticked along, I realized this simple approach probably helped the actors truly inhabit their characters and the space they lived in. It was like watching a stage performance with the added benefit of being able to occasionally focus on the more subtle facial expressions of the actors when it was necessary. Like Michael Haneke figured out a way to get the best of both performance worlds on the screen. In any case, this was an extremely emotion ride, and Amour is an experience I will cherish for a very long time.
It’s a slow film, but the rewards are there if you can connect with the two lead characters. If you do make that connection, make sure you have some tissues ready! I think this film will be especially tough to watch for people who have personal experience of caring for elderly loved one.
The film is nicely photographed, but I think a quiet private HD viewing at home is best way to go. This is a French film so expect subtitles. Do NOT watch a dubbed version of this film!
Every moment when George is helping Anne is just so powerful. She holds on to him for support, but it almost looked more like a loving embrace.