It is not a beautiful movie. It does not set out to sweep the readers away only to break their hearts. Released in December, “Amour” simply tells a story infinitely more realistic than does any Nicholas Sparks film. It is a story of loss. At times terrifying and even ugly, but usually just immensely sad and slow, this film masterfully captures humanity in every way a true tragedy must.
“Amour” secured nominations in give Oscar categories: Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Directing and Best Foreign Language Film.
“Amour” is the story of an old Parisian couple slowly losing each other to the wife’s crippling illness. As the wife, Anne, becomes less able to perform basic functions, her husband’s incredible faith to her and love for her are revealed. While little happens in the film other than Anne’s creeping and painful death, viewers pick up on and grapple with the struggles of each character, from the husband’s need to reconcile his needs with those of his beloved wife, to their daughter’s desire to be present when she is not wanted.
Tears rested in our tear ducts throughout the entirety of the film, occasionally escaping onto our cheeks, as we travelled with the couple through their emotionally tumultuous journey of growing old and letting go of love.
Emmanuelle Riva portrays her character, Anne, flawlessly, earning her a top pick for Best Actress. She emulates perfection through each scream, laugh and cry for help. Her ability to appear physically impaired is believable in every move she makes, allowing the tone of the film to travel toward the depths of hopelessness as the audience moves with Riva.
Also notable was the film’s screenplay, placing it in the running for Best Writing for Original Screenplay. Dialogue is scarce for a majority of the film, however when it is spoken, it exudes character and emotion.
The film’s camerawork and timing were also impeccable, putting Michael Haneke in the running for Best Director. The way the camera followed each character added to the tone of the film, sometimes creating a sense of distance and sometimes creating a feeling of love and hope.
If heart-wrenching, tastefully dawdling movies are your cup of tea, then “Amour” will satisfy you deeply. Otherwise, skip this one; the film’s Oscar worthy attributes are overshadowed by its depressing aura and you will leave the theater emotionally exhausted with mascara running down your cheeks.
2 hours 7 minutes
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material including a disturbing act, and brief language
With Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva and Isabelle Huppert