Amour (2012)

"Amour" is the French word for love. Love is many things: trust, devotion, loyalty, an eternal connection.  Love can also be sad, and "Amour" might be the saddest love story I've ever seen.

Georges and Anne are an elderly couple living in Paris. They are retired music teachers, and have since settled into a comfortable routine. They enjoy opera, they play music around the house, they know how the other moves and eats and lives. It's the sort of pattern that any couple in their 80s would achieve. The entire pattern comes crumbling down one morning when Anne suffers a stroke.

The rest of the movie is absolutely heart-breaking as we watch Anne suffer, and Georges struggle to cope. It's a hauntingly realistic depiction of something that could happen to literally every single one of us. A majority of us have seen our grandparents age, and seen them suffer various ailments. A majority of us also had to deal with someone in our family getting sick. Here we have to see the pain that goes from Anne to Georges to their children and in-laws and their neighbors, and how each one reacts to the grief.

Director Michael Haneke also did one of my favorite movies "Cache".  Both movies have similar styles, minimalist techniques. There are no crazy camera movements, sometimes just simple pans or zooms, other times the camera stops moving entirely. This creates an odd balance of detachment and involvement. The camera doesn't tell us what to look at, so we're left to our own devices to get involved and choose what to focus on. Conversely, we become detached, like we're just outsiders peeking into another world.

I know most people don't expect to cry during a love story, but if this movie doesn't at least make your eyes water, you might have some sort of emotionally stunted state of mind. It's a devestating movie, one that is perfectly relatable and will make you question your own morals. If a movie can have that sort of impact, and be able to stick in my head long after watching it, I give it all the credit in the world.




On the [Celluloid Hero] scale, "Amour" gets a 6 out of 10.