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Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How this movie changed my life, 24 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Amour [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
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.

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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.
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Review Details

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Reviewer

J. Martin
(REAL NAME)   

Location: New York

Top Reviewer Ranking: 11,029,221