Michael Haneke's `Amour' is the story of an elderly married couple, Georges (Jean Louis Trintignant) and Anne (Emmanuelle Riva), who have to come to terms with the last stages of their life together.
One morning over breakfast, Anne experiences a moment of open-eyed paralysis that changes her life entirely. Anne has an operation which fails, leading to a steady decline in mobility, wheelchair confinement, dementia and finally being bed-bound. Anne never liked hospitals and Georges had to promise Anne that he would never take her back, although Georges keeps his word this arrangement had its own problems as Georges has to cope with caring for Anne.
Haneke rejects the idea that death is a communal experience, Anne's journey towards death is an intensely solitary experience. Only Georges can understand her pain, their daughter (Isabelle Huppert) is marginalised through no fault of her own. Anne's degradation and embarrassment at not being able to look after herself is evidently real and hard to watch. Emmanuelle Riva is a revelation as Anne, revealing the physical indignity and vulnerability of Anne's unravelling state in such a frank and utterly brave performance.
Georges and Anne's relationship releases all sorts of emotions and questions, not least how we adapt and cope within a relationship which is constantly changing, regardless of age. You may not see them kiss, hug, hold hands or even say "I love you", theirs is a love borne of loyalty, kindness and devotion. Its heartbreaking to watch Georges who has spent so many wonderful years building a life together with his beloved Anne, facing up to the reality that she is slowly disappearing before him.
As harrowing as Anne's and Georges deterioration is, `Amour' is still fundamentally a touching story between two people who are utterly in love with each other till the very end.