Review - Amour

Amour (2012), PG-13, 127 minutes - Amour is this one of this year's Oscars Best Picture nominees and after finally getting a chance to see it (it finally made it's way to my area), I can see why.

This film, which is directed by Michael Haneke is about Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne (Emmanuelle Riva), a couple in their 80's who are retired music teachers that have a daughter who lives abroad.  It depicts their day to day lives and how they cope with not just one, but two strokes that Anne suffers.  Anne detests doctors and makes Georges promise not to enter her into the hospital (again) or another care facility.  As a result Georges does everything he can to care for her as her body and mind slowly deteriorate.

Amour is a very strong and emotional film.  It isn't an easy watch by any means.  It runs for two hours, and due to its subject matter and pacing, feels every bit of it.  I realize that will sound negative but it isn't meant to be.  If the film were paced any differently, I don't think that it would have the emotional impact that it does.  It is just not a film that is easily recommended to anyone who isn't already going out of their way to see it.  I was very intrigued by it because it is not only nominated in the Best Picture category this year, but also Best Actress (Emmanuelle Riva is the oldest Oscar nominee ever), Best Achievement in Directing, Best Foreign Film, and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen.  It is definitely worthy of all of those nominations as it is an excellent film.  Emmanuelle Riva really gives an amazing performance as Anne, and Michael Haneke is getting a lot of attention for his writing and directing. But Jean-Louis Trintignant cannot be overlooked.  His turn as Georges is every bit as strong as Riva's.  He not only has to become Anne's caregiver, but he also has to take on the emotional and draining job of play gatekeeper between her and others (including their daughter) when she doesn't want anyone to see her in her diminished state.

Amour is a heart wrenching love story about a couple nearing the end of their lives.  It is a very real and depressing look at a family coping with the cards that life deals them.  And while it is well worth watching, you have to be prepared for a pretty heavy film watching experience, and probably isn't right up the alley of your average movie-goer.


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