Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Directed by Michael Haneke.
2012. Rated PG-13, 127 minutes.
Jean-Louis Trintignant
Emmanuelle Riva
Isabelle Huppert
Alexandre Tharaud
Rita Blanco
Ramon Agirre
William Shimell
Carol Franck
Dinara Droukarova

Georges (Trintignant) and Anne (Riva) are one of those great couples who have been together forever and still appear to be in love. They do everything together and life is good. Unfortunately, things change drastically when she has a stroke. To correct the blockage that caused it, she undergoes surgery. However, that goes wrong and leaves her paralyzed on her right side. She returns home from the hospital and the two immediately become more care-giver and patient than husband and wife. The two trying to navigate the suddenly tough waters of their lives ensues.

The entire movie depicts the sad, downward spiral of their lives. It is filled with gut-wrenching emotion and deep devotion. There is really nothing we can do but feel sorry for Georges and Anne. She grows increasingly dependent on him and he gets more and more protective of her. His frustration also grows as his wife’s lucidity fades. As viewers, we become frustrated with him because of how secretive he is about her condition. He does what he can to care for her, employing nurses to aid them and whatever else is necessary. However, he flat refuses any help or suggestions their daughter offers. Through skillful writing and acting the entirety of the pain caused by every aspect of this situation transfers to us. Effectively, it keeps us engaged.

Something else that works to set the mood is the startling quiet of it all. In her younger days, Anne was a respected music instructor. Her prized pupil is now a famous musician. On occasion, there are bursts of classical music. However, much the movie is silent in places other films, particularly American ones, would fill with sound. Rather than artificially manipulate us with a rousing or saddening score, the lack of musical accompaniment adds to both the realism and the bleakness of that reality. Within the realm of this film, the take away is simple. Where there is music, there is hope; where there is none, there is not.

As in all situations such as this, decisions must constantly be made. Ultimately, the point is reached where that decision is the hardest one possible. Once Georges makes it, we immediately have one to make, ourselves. We begin to decide if we think he’s right or wrong, selfish or selfless. Then, how do we feel about what happens next? There are deep, philosophical conversations to be had about what transpires here. This is what gives Amour a lasting effect. It elevates itself from being a typical love story to one not only worthy of our viewing, but our contemplation.


  1. This is a hard one to sit-through and even when you do get through it, you don't really feel like you've accomplished much. You just saw a really slow, sad movie, and that's basically it. Good review Wendell.

    1. Interesting take. It is definitely slow, and sad, but I like the debate it brings up on whether Georges was right or wrong and what we would do in that situation.