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Amour Review

February 15, 2013

Amour

            As we continue down the long path of adulthood, many of us hope to find that special someone to grow old with – that person to start a family with, to retire with, to take your final breathes on Earth with. In the French film “Amour”, directed and written by Michael Haneke, Georges (played by Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne (played by Emmanuelle Riva) are an elderly couple who are together, happily married.

However, when Anne is stricken by degrading health, the couples love for each other – and for life itself – is significantly tested. Anne’s health, which guided her through a life of teaching music and raising a family, is slowly turning into a malicious tyrant who wants reign over her mind, body, and spirit. Georges, who never leaves his dearly beloved’s side, is forced to watch and take care of Anne as she slowly wilts away.

The movie (a total duration of 127 minutes) is long, drawn out, and uncannily depressing as you patiently watch the inexorable decline of Anne as a teacher, mother, and wife. Each scene carries a Rembrandt’esque like feel; There are numerous long shots lit by windows allowing in no more than a faded ray of hope into their beautifully dark and aging apartment. Each scene leaves enough silence and solitude to call for thoughts of self-reflecting. There were many times in the movie where strong emotions of grief brought tears to my eyes as I thought about my mother and the people I love grow old and near death.

Emmanuelle Riva’s acting is so realistic that it’s somewhat disturbing. Her tragic downfall is carefully and intricately acted out. Riva is not over the top nor is she too humble, but she is loud in that her acting portrays what seems to be the real emotions of fully grasping onto the idea of dieing – shame, depression, defeat, anger.

Death anxiety is something that we humans have that not many (if any) other species have. Unlike most animals, which react to death in a fight or flight type manner, we humans know that we are going to die, we just don’t know when. Anne is in a situation that eventually all of us will go through, which in the long slow scenes of the movies, give us a chance to self reflect about our own death anxiety. Anne realizes the candle is burning at both ends and time is running out, and so does Georges.

In Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest young Cecily said, “I don’t like novels that end happily. They depress me so much.” Although “Amour” leaves you feeling just as depressed as young Cecily may get from happily ending novels, “Amour” does not do so under false pretensions. “Amour” does not leave you thinking all will end happily ever after, even in your final moments leading to death.  Instead, it slaps you with the harsh reality that many of us will eventually face.

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