Thursday, December 13th, 2012


There should be a warning given to anyone over a certain age (like me) before they see this powerfully uncomfortable and uncompromising movie about an elderly couple that makes you confront the unavoidable consequences of all the suffering that one must deal with before finally shuffling off this mortal coil. And certainly one should definitely not even think about going with a partner or anyone else you may be considering nominating as your ‘carer’ in your doting adage as they will be out that theater door before the final credits role!

Yet despite its overwhelming sadness this story of well-to-do cultured Parisians in their 80’s who seemingly have everything going for them until the wife has her first debilitating stroke is also excruciatingly beautiful and unquestionably one of the best movies that I have seen this year.  

When Anne is first incapacitated then Georges her husband of several decades immediately assumes her role and becomes the ‘housekeeper’ and starts to run both the household and their life probably for the first time. Initially they both adapt to their new circumstances and Anne learns how to deal with her limited physical capabilities, but soon her determination is superseded by sheer frustration and depression as she realises that she has been robbed of all control she has over her own life.  She is helpless and its going to get worse.
They have one unhappily married daughter Eva whose infrequent visits from abroad are filled with her own agenda and anger, some of which seems to be unconsciously directed at both her parents for enjoying such a long and very happy marriage.  When Anne still has the ability to talk she insists (to Georges) that Eva’s husband is not allowed to visit as ‘his British humor is bad enough to endure when one is well!’ 
Before her second stroke that will lead to the inevitable, there are some glorious wee moments such as halfway struggling through a meal, Anne suddenly asks Georges to find and bring her all their photo albums. As she sits there silently leafing through each one, with a small warm smile on her face she simply says ‘C’est beau – la vie’ , and I defy anyone not to reach for their Kleenex right there and then.  Keep them handy, you will need them often. 
The story unfolds gently at a leisured place and the two stunning central understated and un-showy performances by veteran actors Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva are a sheer joy to watch. They both have very full and starry resumes stretching almost 60 years having worked with many of the leading French Directors.  M. Trintignant is quoted as saying he personally believes that ‘the best actors in the world are those who feel the most and show the least‘.   And he and Mde Riva certainly practice what he preaches.
Winner of the Palme D’Or at Cannes, this movie is the work of celebrated Austrian writer/director Michael Hanake. Unfashionable as it may seem, I will happily confess that I have never ever been a fan of his work, in fact I have loathed most of it so far.  Except the last one (‘The White Ribbon’) and this one which I unhesitatingly absolutely love.  

Amour is a breathtakingly beautiful tale of how a couple’s love for each other faces the ultimate test, and goes beyond surviving.  Totally unmissable.  


Posted by queerguru  at  03:26


Genres:  drama, international

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