37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a devastating and compassionate portrayal
As others have said, this is a very moving film, and takes us into an area I haven't seen focused on like this in any other film. I had feared it would be too harrowing to watch, but the bond between the couple, which felt as though it had existed for many years as the director intended, and the devotion shown by the Trintignant character towards his wife, made me feel...
Published 17 months ago by schumann_bg
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but depressing
Brilliant acting and direction but it left me depressed. This meant that I would have preferred a story that lifted me to watch instead.
Published 13 months ago by MALCOLM SUTCLIFFE
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a devastating and compassionate portrayal,
As others have said, this is a very moving film, and takes us into an area I haven't seen focused on like this in any other film. I had feared it would be too harrowing to watch, but the bond between the couple, which felt as though it had existed for many years as the director intended, and the devotion shown by the Trintignant character towards his wife, made me feel the value of life and love very strongly; and that it was a film that has to be seen, really. It is a noble example of the art of cinema, conveying a sense of dignity and the deepest caring. Michael Haneke's usually dispassionate style here has the unexpected effect of making it more affecting; by refusing all sentimentality he creates something that is very moving while never giving us more - or less - than the truth. It seems to go so much further than words can express, and much of the emotion of the film remains mute. Music is also present as a consolation, even if one that is rejected by the wife at a certain point, puzzlingly. Nevertheless the husband continues to take solace in it, imagining his wife's playing before she fell ill. The flat itself also has an amazing resonance, seeming to represent the years spent together, and being a refuge of sorts for Anne, even though, of course, this can only go so far. But her clear aversion to going back into hospital allows us to sense this, as well as her feeling the overriding desire to be near Georges in her hour of need. You can only hope that she feels less alone than her confinement in her body implies, but ultimately this is unknowable. The film points up a number of paradoxes and questions of this sort, but lightly - it is always concerned mainly with love and suffering. You also feel what a noble art acting is - the bravery of the two leads is quite extraordinary, using their amazing skill to show us this most important reality that some people of their age go through. Emmanuelle Riva is astonishing in this regard - as her character loses the power of speech, she still manages to convey so much through her expressions and her eyes in particular. To empathise to that degree with what the character is going through - with the loss of dignity she feels - is an extraordinary feat. I don't imagine anyone could see this film without being profoundly affected.
64 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very moving, but not always easy to watch,
This film has to have five stars, for the quality of the acting, the film-making and the whole conception. It is not always easy to watch - it isn't meant to be. And the whole action, such as it is, unfolds gradually. The camera is mostly static, there is no background music, and scenes are quite long and their significance not always obvious.
The film is about an octogenarian French couple, wonderfully well acted (well, lived) by Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva. She suffers first one stroke, then another. He looks after her, because she has made him promise not to put her in a home. The task gets more and more difficult, and their life becomes turned in completely on itself. Almost all the film takes place in their apartment.
The faces of the two stars are unforgettable, and the way Riva deteriorates is shocking but very realistic. It is a very moving film, and highly recommended, but anyone who has experience of this kind of ordeal may find it difficult.
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly great film,
I am not often motivated to write a review. But this is the best film I have seen for a while. Not an easy film to watch by any means though.
Superb direction, cinematography and acting make this surely the best French film of the year.
Minimalist in presentation, the acting is captivating and the story compelling. No special effects or background music to wind up the emotion.... just stark and profound acting in what at times seems real time.
If you are to watch just one foreign language film this year, watch this one.
57 of 62 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars `Amour' is still fundamentally a touching story between two people who are utterly in love with each other till the very end.,
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.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful; not easy, but rewarding.,
A brave, and in these days when so many more of us are living to increasing age, very necessary film.
It is powerful, in the sense that it is very effective in taking one on quite an intense emotional journey. I write this having seen the film within the last hour, and so in some ways find myself still under its spell.
I found it took me into a sense of displacement, disturbance and a certain delirium even, as it carried me from the normal life portrayed at the debut of the film, and life gave way to the unravelling of old age infirmity.
There are issues of a poor carer being confronted by a still cogniscent and very brave husband, and of middle aged children themselves struggling to cope, both with their own reaction as well as how they might be able to support their ageing parents.
It is a quiet, contemplative film, perhaps best viewed with a partner or a friend of one's own generation.
Beautifully shot all within the home, wonderfully directed and with acting of such consummate ability that the message of the film is carried with great strength.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If this film doesn't move you then you have no soul,
One of the most heartbreaking films you will ever see, Amour is a beautiful work of art about a retired elderly couple of music professors and one of them has a stroke and the other goes slowly mad trying to look after her. On paper i admit it doesn't sound great and it is a very slow film set mostly in the couple's apartment but stick with it and you will be rewarded with some of the finest acting you will ever see. Emmanuele Riva is terrific as the stroke victim and if you aren't moved by her performance then i am sorry but there is something very seriously wrong with you. An absolutely fautless very sad masterpiece excellently directed.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How this movie changed my life,
CAUTION: THERE ARE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW
Although I am only 65 years old, most of the people I was close to as a child have died in the past four years, including my closest first cousin (only a month older than me), both of my parents, and my mother's two sisters, who were like auxiliary mothers. We were a very close extended family, all living within two miles of each other until I left home at 18. With the exception of my father, all of those people died in much the same way as Anne did in this movie, but in a much more nightmarish setting, in hospitals and hospices rather than at home, and with an extra kick of morphine at the end instead of a pillow.
But dying for all of them was ugly, protracted and humiliating, no less awful than it was for Anne... and FAR more expensive. The worst was my mother, who had Alzheimer's for 21 years before she died and went through for all those years what Anne went through in the few weeks or months this movie covers (note that the season doesn't change). If my father and others had not spoon-fed her (exactly as Georges did with Anne) every meal every day for the last fifteen years of her life, she would have died much sooner and much more humanely.
The effect of all that horror on me was to make me determined that I was NOT going to end my life that way. I'll spare you some of the tiresome details and just say that I did everything I could to prevent it, including a health care proxy, a living will, a very restrictive MOLST form (a wonderful, sort of expanded "Do Not Resuscitate" form available to New York State residents - a legal document which specifies what kinds of treatment medical professionals are legally allowed to give me) and making clear to my remaining relatives and friends that I did not want to be resuscitated or ever receive any kind of life-extending treatment, but be allowed to die as quickly and as naturally as possible.
I got DNR bracelets, lanyard things so I can wear my MOLST around my neck 24 hours, in case I collapse in a supermarket or somewhere, and a bunch of other crap. I got pretty paranoid about being kept alive after my body wears out, which is the norm in today's world. I've had a wonderful life, but I have no desire at all to extend it. Sixty-five years is plenty.
Despite all my efforts to ward off the kind of death I saw around me and later in this movie, I never could relax and quit fretting about it. I was just sure something would get screwed up and I'd end up just like all the rest, lying mindless and helpless in diapers in some motorized bed with tubes stuck in me everywhere and people all around trying to keep me alive until they got tired of it and upped the morphine. What this marvelous movie did is take away that anxiety. I don't know how, exactly, but it did it.
After seeing what happened to Anne in this movie, and through that remembering in a different way what it was like for my relatives, I realized that I'm okay with it now. It's okay now if I DO end up like that - because, even if it lasts for decades as it did with Mama, eventually it'll be over, and that's all that really matters.
If it takes me ten seconds to die or twenty years to die, I'll still die, and nothing can prevent it. That is profoundly comforting to me, and it allows me to scrap the MOLST and all the other voodoo fetishes I had gathered around me and relax. I have no idea how watching this movie gave me this totally unexpected freedom, but I have no doubt that it did.
This review originated as a post on the IMDb message board for this movie, in a thread titled "Do elderly people like this movie?" Since it expresses very well how I responded to the movie, I have decided to reproduce it here practically verbatim as a review.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A cinematic portrayal of stroke,
Michael Haneke's latest film, Amour, is something of a rarity, in that it provides a fictional cinematic account of the experiences of a stroke survivor and her carer.
The film focuses on a retired middle class couple, who are both former music teachers, and while it is set in Paris, apart from the early scenes the film takes place entirely in the couple's apartment, which gives the viewer a sense of confinement, something also experienced by the female protagonist when she suffers a stroke and is left partially paralysed.
The film is set in the context of a recession, as even though the couple are fairly well off there is a sense that in the world outside their borgouise sphere all is not well as at the start of the film the couple's flat is burgled, and they reflect on the fact that most of the people they know have also been burgled.
The film asks many questions but does not provide any answers. At one point a former student visits and asks her what happened to her. She replies that she does not want to talk about it. The question of what a stroke is therefore remains unanswered, but the question itself sticks in the mind of the viewer. In another scene the daughter, who is concerned about her mother's deteriorating condition, asks if there is nothing more that can be done. The father replies that she could go and find out. Again the question of what more could be done remains unanswered, leaving the viewer to ponder this for themselves. As well as this the lack of a clear narrative ending gives the viewer the uneasy sense that the problems raised in the film remain unresolved.
The film is somewhat unconventional in that it does not feature glamorous main characters that the audience might want to emphasise with. Likewise there is no background music that might create a mood which might make the audience emphasise with any character in particular.
The need for these distancing effects become clear as the film takes its final tragic twist. This lack of a happy ending means that the film has no narrative closure, leaving the audience with the sense that the problems the film highlights are yet to be solved while at the same time hinting that there may be a better, more humane alternative.
The performances given by the lead actors are superb, although Amour is a challenging film to watch, as it asks searching questions of it's audience and depicts highly emotive and distressing events, but it is precisely these qualities that make the film worthwhile and which will leave the audience with a greater awareness of the issues surrounding stroke as well as more compassion and concern for all those affected by it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Less Bearable,
Love Can't Always Keep Us Together, as the old song goes. Troubles interfere, time passes and things change. Love can endure, and we see it up close and personal in this film.
This film has two main characters, Georges and Anne, retired music teachers in their 80s played by Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva. They live in Paris in a beautiful apartment where the grand piano is Up front and center. They seem very happy and they are still in love. The opening scene is a concert given by a former pupil, that Georges and Anne attend. That is the last happy scene. Anne suffers a stroke after carotid surgery, the 5% side effect. She is still able to speak and think, and Anne makes Georges promise never to put her in a hospital again. and, so the slow dance of time begins.
This is at times a lovely film, full of love, but, then, it is sad and the angst George's and Anne feels, we feel. It is difficult to watch a loved one deteriorate and slowly die. Most of us go through it, with one or another of relatives. Even though it is difficult to watch this film, it brings us closer to our own thoughts. How we all think about our lives, ourselves. How will we die, how will our loved ones die? There is no answer.
Moving film of life and death and dying. Should be seen by all.
Recommended. prisrob 08-21-13
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I couldnt give it five stars because it was SO depressing!,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
What can I say? if you buy a film that is about old people dying (and not quickly) its not going to be a bundle of laughs..I appreciate that it is a beautifully put together film and that the two lead performances are outstanding, I'm glad I saw it but afterwards I quite honestly wanted to stick my head in a gas oven. There is a Spanish film out there called "Elsa and Fred" which deals with the same subject but with masses amounts of humour. I infinitely preferred it, but then again, that's me...I am of course perfectly aware that we are all going to die, but I would rather laugh my way to the grave than walk slowly and agonisingly. This is undoubtably a brilliant film but definitely have a jolly one to watch afterwards!
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Amour [Blu-ray] by Michael Haneke (Blu-ray - 2013)