Winner of several awards, Amour tells the story of retired couple Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) and Georges (Jean-Lois Trintignant). Both former piano teachers and enjoying a long marriage, their lives take a sad turn. One day Anne suffers a stroke leaving her reliant on Georges. Helping with her daily needs, the situation becomes worse as her condition deteriorates. Steadfastly refusing to surrender to illness, the months ahead prove how strong their loving bond is.
Meaning ‘love’ in French, ‘Amour’ is often uncomfortable viewing. Whilst wonderfully acted and filmed it can be difficult witnessing the couple’s slow decline. How they try to maintain their dignity in the face of such a cruel illness is ‘Amour’s’ best aspect. Not only do they attempt to prevent their humanity from being stripped away but their reliance on others. Whilst this stubborn behaviour can be frustrating, it is understandable given the independence both have had.
Michael Haneke’s sensitive direction of his screenplay wisely downplays any false sentimentality. This is a real problem many face with relatives and friends sharing the couple’s suffering. The way they try to find solutions to an awful scenario is at once inspiring and sad. For all its sadness there is a spirit of tenacity throughout with the couple’s valiant attempts providing plenty to ponder.
It’s no surprise ‘Amour’ has been so admired as it deals with very relatable issues. Well acted and scripted it continually engages in an engrossing manner.
Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Rating out of 10: 8
Out now on Blu-ray and DVD