Saturday, 23 February 2013


Today's film is the ninth film of its kind in the history of the Oscars to be nominated for Best Picture. None have won. What kind of film is that, you ask? Why a foreign language film of course! None have won yet but could today's film rock the boat a little? This is Amour.

A couple in their eighties, Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne (Emmanuelle Riva), live a relaxing retired life in Paris, occasionally going to see the concert of one of their ex-students to see how successful they were at teaching the next generation of masterful pianists. But their days of music teaching are long over especially after Anne suffers a stroke and, despite doctor's best efforts, is left wheelchair bound. Eva (Isabelle Huppert), the couple's daughter, upon hearing the news raises a fuss about what more can be done but Georges defends his wife's decision to not go back to hospital. Instead, he cares for her himself, along with some visiting nurses, and we see how far love can be stretched. For, at its core, Amour is about love.

Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva are both incredible performers. At 88 and 86 respectively, no doubt people told them that their better days were behind them. How wrong they were. Riva is the oldest actress ever nominated for the Best Actress Oscar, beating the record set by Jessica Tandy by a whole six years and clearly all that age has added up to some undeniably fantastic experience. Sadly, she is extremely unlikely to win next to the more American favourites, Chastain and Lawrence, but she deserves the award nonetheless - She took the BAFTA, so who knows. She heartbreakingly portrays a devastating illness that will strike a chord in many audience members' hearts and will cause more than a few tears. Some will undoubtedly find it uncomfortable to watch. Trintignant, who carries the film, keeps the title of the film at the front of his performance. The pain that is caused from watching the suffering of his life-long love flickers in his eyes throughout the film; it is a rare performance in which reality and art seem too close for comfort. Again, it is likely that the acting will hit home for many people who have experienced similar things.


Michael Haneke is very definite in pointing out that he would not dare call this movie 'love' (Amour) if it were a conventional love story. There is more to love than what the movies like to show. Love is pain as well and, through his beautiful direction, Amour truly captures that notion. At points, the film can be horrible to watch as it hovers over the line of artistic representation and realism. No one really has a craving to watch an elderly couple struggle to live. But at the same time, that is part of the film's appeal. Handled so beautifully and bravely, Amour presents something very real and that makes it hard to not watch. A true wonder of cinema.

A beautiful, realistic, and artistic piece of French cinema. A perfect example of reasons to watch foreign films. As Westerners, we have a habit of ignoring the rest of the world but but it is a good thing Amour slipped through that veil.

Best Bit? There are far too many moments to pick from. Just watch it.

*Forgive the lack of humorous annotations, I have nothing funny to say.

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