Pete Wassell continues his review of this year’s Best Picture nominees.
Amour: Michael Haneke makes films that test you. His movies are deliberately paced often with gut-wrenchingly long takes. Amour is no different. The story of two octogenarians living together, until one morning at breakfast Anne, played by Emmanuelle Riva, suffers what turns out to be a stroke. The story is about Georges, Anne’s husband, played by Jean-Louis Trintignant, taking care of Anne after that stroke. We watch her deteriorate slowly until there is nothing left. All personality and individuality is stolen from her. Though Georges stays by her throughout, the film in large part is about the shame he feels when he finds himself growing impatient with Anne’s constant neediness.
The film works because it makes no judgment, and it paints a picture of undying love that is both tragic and supremely uplifting. I would argue that Amour is a heartbreakingly optimistic and beautiful film, one that aims to capture that sense of partnership, dedication, and ultimately, love. Haneke shoots the film like his others, very minimalistic in its style and camerawork. He lets the actors tell you the story, and Emmanuelle Riva is deservedly nominated for the Best Actress Oscar, one that upon viewing the film I would be more than happy for her to win.
Amour is a film that darkens your heart…and warms it at the same time, one that scares you and makes you cry. There’s a side story concerning Georges and Anne’s daughter and her failing marriage that I find detracts from the real narrative, but is something I can forgive because its juxtaposition to the main story in some ways complements the sentiments being projected through Anne and Georges.
If you want to see love, and if you want to know pain, go see Amour. You won’t be disappointed.
Check in for the conclusion of Pete’s overview on the Oscars in a couple of days. IAFT is one of the top film schools in L.A.