85th Academy Awards 2013
Nominated for 5 awards, of which it won 1.
Nominated for Best Director (Michael Heneke), Best Actress (Emmanuelle Riva), Best Original Screenplay (Michael Haneke), and Best Picture (Margaret Menegoz, Stefan Arndt, Velt Heiduschka, Michael Katz).
Won Best Foreign Language Film (Michael Haneke).
Watched November 12, 2013.
Amour is a heavy, well crafted tale of the tests that love goes through in the last days of our lives. Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) have been married a long time. Well cultured and now retired music teachers, they lead simple lives in a beautiful french apartment full of books and a baby grand. One morning, Anne has a lapse, which we assume was probably a stroke, because the next time we see her she has undergone surgery, and it went badly. She slowly progresses from being half paralyzed in a wheelchair to being bed ridden and cared for my nurses and husband alike.
Georges bears most of his wife’s condition very well, although you can see the sadness, fear, and helplessness in his eyes. His daughter, who seems very preoccupied with her own life, keeps insisting that something must be done, but Georges has the ability to see that there isn’t much that can be done but help Anne be comfortable. Anne loses her ability to communicate in the end, but although her words make no sense, you can see every emotion plainly in her eyes.
This is one of those films where I forgot pretty quickly that I was watching a foreign film. I hardly noticed I was reading subtitles most of the time. It is somewhat slow moving, particularly in the stillness that director Michael Haneke uses effectively. He chose to shoot several scenes in one shot. The camera doesn’t move for several minutes while Georges cuts flowers, Anne learns to use her wheelchair, or receives a bath from a nurse. There is so much communication in this film, and most of it isn’t through dialogue.
The cinematography is brilliant, the story telling is wonderful, and the emotions are heart breaking. It is easy to connect with the characters, which is sometimes difficult in foreign films. Almost the entire film is shot in their small apartment and yet we see a whole life story. Georges and Anne are still individuals who are learning about one another, and though the truth is that we all die alone, Georges is with Anne every step of the way, with love that only he could show to her.
Although the film is hard to watch, I also found the story quiet beautiful. Those of us who are lucky to make it to their age with our partner will one day experience this, and it isn’t any easier than if they had lost each other earlier in their lives. The story is relatable, but it is also an example of the partnership in marriage.
This film will require a little patience, and should probably not be viewed if you are having a tough time in life, but besides that I would highly recommend it.