Thursday, January 23, 2014

247 of 1001 Movies: Amour (2012)

Amour was a movie a couple of years ago made popular by the Oscars, or at least that is how I heard about it. I had been wanting to see it since, but without the list might not have checked it out considering my reservations about watching a movie that was perhaps as slow as this one. Though slow the story for the most part is very realistic. It isn't overly romantic if you're hoping for a cute tale of an older couple, and it isn't a pleasant depiction of dying. Where someone slowly drifts away till they wake up no more.

Summary: Georges and Anne are retired music teachers who on their last normal night together go to see a concert of their now famous past student, Alexandre. Their daughter, Eva, lives with her English husband, so she doesn't live nearby. When Anne suffers a stroke it leaves her paralyzed on her right side, and now she is dependent on Georges who also has his own struggle with age. The stroke, and the emerging problems it will cause will leave them trying to hold on to the love they've had for so long as it is tested in new ways.

Acting; The acting is one of the most superb things about the movie though the situation is rough it feels as if the two leads have been together for a long time.  Emmanuelle Riva stars as Anne, and makes the role as heartbreaking and tragic as the script portrays her character. As her health is deteriorating she doesn't try to portray it gracefully or with bravery, and I think the way she portrays the emotions is very honest and true to how someone, perhaps me, would be in this situation. Georges is portrayed by Jean-Louis Trintignant. Trintignant who reacts questionably sometimes to Anne's health, but somehow we feel for him as he is struggling that most of us will go through, but yet have no knowledge of how to handle. Isabelle Hupert also stars in the movie as Eva who is the daughter of the elderly couple. Alexandre Tharaud is Alexandre the man who becomes a musical success.

Filming: Michael Haneke is the director, and while there is plenty to like about the movie he has filmed there are also some things he doesn't utilize that could make the movie a lot more compelling. Each scene looks like a photography shot. It is sleek, the colors work perfectly, and the framing is great. When he is shooting scenes where dialogue is happening between the characters the shots sit still. There is no panning, there is no zooming, it's just stillness. The stillness adds some effects of the sadness and seriousness of the movie, but sometimes emotion could have been better increased with more movement. Plus, there is no score, while for some this adds to the moments that the couple shares I felt I could have experienced more emotion with one.

Plot: The plot is well written, and with two hours they cover all aspects there is to think over about getting older. Amour will provide you no comfort to the inevitable aging process. So if you're easily depressed or someone who has just lost a parent or spouse I don't really recommend watching this movie until perhaps you can handle it. It goes over much of what I've known my own relatives to experience when losing someone whether it was deciding between hospice, having to take care of the person when they are unable anymore, and the sense of hope that is being dwindled. Throughout the movie I'm sure that Georges realizes his own mortality as well. For most the way this movie tries to be realistic will be a welcome to the fantasy of Hollywood though.

Amour is about love in the ways we don't want to think about it. Most of us imagine love as a youthful, new process, and this movie portrays it on the other end of the spectrum. A couple who has had a long life together, but now it's nearing the end. When you get married the last thing on your mind is the deathbed of your spouse, and this movie shows why, but the reality of it.

Rating 7 of 10.

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