I am so not looking forward to my twilight years. Thanks to Austrian director Michael Haneke, I may never want to be old enough to admit to being in my twilight years. His latest movie, Amour, stars Jean-Louis Trintignant as the worried husband of Emmanuelle Riva, his wife who just suffered a stroke during breakfast. Her condition deteriorates, which is the kindest way to describe the despair in this film. Their concerned and fussy daughter (played lovingly by Isabelle Huppert) is one of the few visitors in their Parisian apartment. Otherwise, it’s just husband, wife and disease, stuck in the house until the end.
While the film is one of struggle and love, that might not be Haneke’s angle. Looking at his previous work, it’s no coincidence that he’s moved on to a more realistic suffering. His previous films, like Funny Games or White Ribbon, centered on suffocating oppression and pain with no chance of escape. What’s more confining in a movie than to stay with two characters in two rooms while their world crumbles? It becomes as much torture for us as it does for them.
If anyone has gone through a drawn-out heartbreak like this, Amour might be intolerable.
The reason you may have heard of Amour, is to the credit of the recent Oscar nominations. The drama landed in five categories; Best Picture, Director, Actress, Screenplay, and Foreign Film (it was the surprise dark horse outside of that last one). Riva has earned the distinction of becoming the Academy’s oldest nominee for Best Actress, and Haneke can walk away with two statues for Best Directing and Screenplay.
AMOUR | PG-13 | FRI 1.18.13