So I just finished watching Michael Haneke’s 2012 film entitled Amour (French for “Love”)…
Amour tells the story of an elderly couple named Georges and Anna Laurent. One day, after Anna acts strange, Georges finds out from their doctor that Anna had a stroke. After surgery, Anna’s body and mind begin to degrade over time to the point she is bed ridden and unable to communicate coherently. Georges and the rest of the Laurent’s family and friends must then try to cope with Anna’s degrading health and find a solution to all the suffering.
What a depressing fucking movie. But what a fucking movie regardless. A brilliant examination of old age and the inevitability of death.
Great script, brilliant characters and performances (Jean-Louis Trinitignant and Emmanuel Riva were absolutely beautiful and genuine as Georges and Anna), amazing cinematography and editing, brilliant discussion of themes, etc.
I’m finding that there’s always just one word that can sum up what I love about this director’s movies, and for this one, that word is honest. Haneke doesn’t sugar coat anything he talks about in this movie, he doesn’t over dramatize it, he doesn’t romanticize it. He shows you, in brutal and blunt detail, the pain of seeing a loved one in a state of such indignity and pain. The performances and writing very much add to this.
Trinitignant portrays Georges in such a subdued manner, not showing you all his cards, but you can still feel his pain in every scene. And Emmanuel Riva’s performance…just wow. Her ability to portray a woman in such a weakened and horrific state so accurately and beautifully. It showed respect for the material and it showed how much Haneke was able to pull from these actors.
Not to be ignored though are the technical elements of this movie. Haneke is a god damned scientist when it comes to shot composition and scene construction. Able to frame each shot meticulously and with purpose. Each scene was framed and editied so well and conveyed what it needed to perfectly. My favourite was probably the bit where Georges was listening to music, but we start with a shot with Anna playing the piano before we cut to him in the chair. Through two simple cuts and shots, we have gained so much insight into how much this man has lost and how much pain he is feeling.
Overall, Haneke nails it again. While this film is more subtle, contemplative, and not emotionally visceral, it is nonetheless beautiful. Tragic, morbid, and ultimately all too real. Watch it.
10 out of 10