From all outward appearances “Amour” appears to be little more than yet another melodrama from the land of love and cheese. Everything from the title, to the plot synopsis, to the overall layout of the DVD cover exudes pretentious drivel — highly acclaimed drivel that is, seeing as how the film has swept every major award ceremony. Alas, our mothers were right to point out never judging a book by it’s cover.
Simply put, “Amour” is a triumphantly heart-wrenching masterpiece. Mortality is a universal truth that few of us think about but one that all of us must face in time, and “Amour” faces these hard truths with a relentless unblinking eye.
The narrative is centered around Anne and Georges, an elderly couple who are soon faced with a compromising situation. When Anne suffers a stroke paralyzing the entire right side of her body, her quality of life soon deteriorates at a rapid pace leaving Georges to serve as her primary caregiver. Anne soon finds her new living situation too much to bear and Georges must decide between preserving her immobile state or parting with the love of his life.
The simplicity of the film is what ultimately becomes overwhelming. The title characters could very well be your parents, your grandparents, or even a glimpse at our collective selves. “Amour” forces viewers to face such brooding and stark realities with little to no pause or respite. The film simply offers a window into the lives of two characters who are nearing the end of their time on this world.
“Amour” is shot in a way that perfectly compliments the meticulous pacing. Long running still shots are riddled throughout with a minimal usage of pans and quick cuts. This attention to detail offers a slow pacing which mimics the lives of the title characters. The deliberately slow pace also creates an atmosphere that is particularly conducive for such a heart-wrenching plot. The film is perfectly calculated to elicit tears from even the most hardened curmudgeon. Pure and simple, “Amour” is an unmitigated tearjerker in the purest cinematic sense. Hopefully you’ll be watching this for the first time at home with a box of tissues within arms reach.
The DVD release of “Amour” comes equipped with a fairly bare bones amount of special features. There’s a making of featurette and a Q&A with director Michael Haneke, and that is quite literally it. Fortunately, the feature length presentation is more than enough to satiate most cinephiles.
Film: 4 Yaps
Extras: 2 Yaps