The mystery of the opening scene in Amour, in which
firefighters break down a door to a Paris apartment, quickly
Once the clock rewinds to the moment that Anne (Emmanuelle
Riva) has a seizure at the kitchen table, it's pretty obvious
that Austrian director Michael Haneke's intention is to
reveal the depths of the emotional bond between Anne and her
husband Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) rather than tease
any suspicions about Anne's death.
Interspersed with occasional references to the elderly
couple's life as music teachers, Amour is heavy going as
Georges honours Anne's wish that he care for her, resisting
their daughter's belief that her mother would be better off
Crafted around a sequence of excruciatingly long takes in
their tired Paris apartment, Haneke trusts that the audience
will sit with him while he wallows in the depressing reality
gripping Anne and Georges.
Taking on the intense dedication required to care for Anne,
Jean-Louis Trintignant's brilliant portrayal of a man having
to watch the love of his life fading away before his eyes is
astounding, though unrelentingly grim.
A beautiful portrait of ageing, respect and downright
stubborn determination, Amour is a brilliantly nuanced
observational portrait of love and death that lingers on long
after the final image fades to black.
Best thing: The performances of Trintignant and Riva.
Worst thing: The gratuitous use of never-ending wide
See it with: Anyone not seeking a feel good
By Mark Orton.
Director: Michael Haneke
Cast: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva,
Isabelle Huppert, Alexandre Tharaud
4 stars (out of 5)