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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Jean-Louis Trintignant
Emmanuelle Riva
Isabelle Huppert.
Directors
Michael Haneke.
Screenwriters
Michael Haneke.
Running Time
127 minutes

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Amour
Haneke's magnificent memento mori


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Plot
Georges (Trintignant) and Anne (Riva), a married couple in their eighties, face the greatest test of their lifelong love when Anne begins to display symptoms of dementia, signalling a sudden deterioration of her mind and body.


Review
Amour
"The worst part of being old is rememberin’ when you was young,” Alvin Straight remarks sagely in David Lynch’s The Straight Story, but Austrian director Haneke’s Palme D’Or winner suggests an altogether less whimsical reality: that the hardest part of advancing years may, in fact, be watching helplessly as a loved one slowly succumbs to the ravages of old age.

Veteran French actor Jean-Louis Trintignant gives a sensitive, unsentimental performance as Georges, the former music teacher who struggles manfully to cope as his beloved wife becomes a shadow of her former self. Early in the film, Georges tells Anne a story which, she says teasingly, might tarnish her image of him, even after all their years together. It’s a telling exchange, for Georges is about to witness the slow disintegration of everything that makes her Anne, as a series of strokes and subsequent onset of dementia reduces her to little more than a helpless child, no longer able to play, or even appreciate, the music which has been her life, while her erratic behaviour tests Georges’ love, tolerance and compassion to superhuman limits.

It sounds like a depressing cinema experience, ‘the feel-bad movie of the year’, and many may find it unbearably sad. But Haneke’s rigorous insistence upon emotional honesty means that no tear shed is unearned, no feeling manipulated (there is, for example, no non-diegetic music), and that the film is, crucially, devoid of sentiment. Besides, the title is no accident: in the course of two hours, Haneke suggests that the ultimate test of a lifelong passion may come not in its first flourish, but in the compassion of its very last days, and that while love cannot conquer death, it can give life’s bleakest moments a run for their money. Viewed from this angle, Amour becomes not only one of the greatest films ever made about old age, but a love story for the ages.


Verdict
Michael Haneke’s Palme D’Or winner is uncomfortable, uncompromising, unflinching... and utterly unmissable. Old age may not be a reality you wish to confront, but you must see this film.


Reviewed by David Hughes

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Amour
Empire Star Rating

RE: "There's no reason to go on living... I know it can only get worse."

A movie that is utterly worthy of its all-encompassing title ... More

Posted by chang at 09:54, 31 December 2013 | Report This Post


"There's no reason to go on living... I know it can only get worse."

Visually austere and emotionally unflinching, Amour is an acute, poignant, devastating and uncompromising drama that's both thought-provoking and terribly depressing... a must see. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by movienut707 at 02:02, 30 November 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Amour- Surprising and emotional

***Spoiler*** Does Georges act out of mercy or selfishness? He seems awfully self-reflexive before he gets all smothery... ... More

Posted by Drooch at 01:54, 21 November 2013 | Report This Post


Amour- Surprising and emotional

I found this to be extremely surprising, and with only two character (for the most part), it carried through brilliantly. It has plenty of gorgeous cinematography, and an extremely emotional and unflinching relationship between an elderly couple. Anyone looking to see some great French cinema, check this one out. It will definitely leave you well. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by FilmMaster at 09:35, 19 March 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Amour

L: jrewing1000 Surprised people are finding it so harrowing. It's very emotional, eke's talent is presenting us with something very real. So all the usual bells and whistles that tug on our heart strings are absent. It wasn't that I found it emotional, more like intense. ote] That's precisely why I found it to be so affecting. By in large, the usual bells & whistles do nothing for me. ... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 13:42, 03 February 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Amour

What an astonishing film. Haneke delivers yet another simple, restrained and powerful drama about old age. It's quite unmissable. Surprised people are finding it so harrowing. It's very emotional, but Haneke's talent is presenting us with something very real. So all the usual bells and whistles that tug on our heart strings are absent. It wasn't that I found it emotional, more like intense. Emmanuelle Riva deserves every accolade going. Her performance is quite simply the best female ... More

Posted by jrewing1000 at 12:18, 03 February 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Amour

Just watched this tonight, and thought it was brilliant. It's not as emotionally draining or harrowing as I was lead to believe, but that isn't a bad thing. It is however, a brutally honest portrayal of old age, illness and how it can effect everyone involved. The film has some genuinely powerful scenes, and some very touching ones to go along with them. Seeing the couple acting fine, having normal conversations and even flirting with eachother, only for that to be completely taken away fr... More

Posted by Coyleone at 01:23, 06 December 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Amour

A suitably less tricksy er...box of tricks from Haneke this time. The White Ribbon was pleasingly and inspirationally classical.... while still messing with us. Amour is quite rightly more above-aboard and harrowingly matter-of-fact. Probably to the extent that it tilted toward docu-drama for me and I didn't really have an emotional response to this. But you have to admire Haneke's approach to the subject; is he, in the first instance facing his fears, which in a loving couple present a... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by demoncleaner at 02:36, 05 December 2012 | Report This Post


RE: FLASHMAN

FIVE OUT OF FIVE. Holy shit this film is good. Probably my favourite Haneke. ... More

Posted by Bickle at 21:50, 24 November 2012 | Report This Post


RE: FLASHMAN

L: Frank Comiskey I found it as realist as Star Trek or 007; the human condition inexplicably teases light, black humour or optimism from even the grimest or most hopeless scenarios, and for all the justifiable praise for this film, none of that is conveyed here. quote]ORIGINAL: Frank Comiskey Yes, yopu are right; totally agree with you in every way, but the original points also still stand. air enough, but I don't think that's a universal characteristic shared by everyone w... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 09:10, 21 November 2012 | Report This Post


RE: FLASHMAN

Yes, yopu are right; totally agree with you in every way, but the original points also still stand. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Frank Comiskey at 17:07, 20 November 2012 | Report This Post


RE: FLASHMAN

Seen this yesterday. Stunning, emotionally-harrowing yet completely unsentimental portrayal of an elderly couple coming to terms with the reality of a situation far too many of us will come to experience in later life & the many issues that correspond with dementia & debilitation. Haneke's cold, analytical approach has never been more appropriate. Likely to be my film of the year. ... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 14:28, 19 November 2012 | Report This Post


FLASHMAN

The film is fearless and expertly done, but who wants to see it? The Elderly? The Young? Carers? Other than dedicated film fans, surely the only people who would watch, are people who have no prior experience of dealing with extreme old age, or who are determined to keep such situations at a wide berth. As a person with first hand knowledge of this kind of tragedy, I found it as realist as Star Trek or 007; the human condition inexplicably teases light, black humour or optimism from e... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Frank Comiskey at 10:54, 19 November 2012 | Report This Post


FLASHMAN

The film is fearless and expertly done, but who wants to see it? The Elderly? The Young? Carers? Other than dedicated film fans, surely the only people who would watch, are people who have no prior experience of dealing with extreme old age, or who are determined to keep such situations at a wide berth. As a person with first hand knowledge of this kind of tragedy, I found it as realist as Star Trek or 007; the human condition inexplicably teases light, black humour or optimism from e... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Frank Comiskey at 10:54, 19 November 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Amour

Really looking forward to this. For me in 2012, Only TDKR & The Master have reached the same levels of anticipation. ... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 12:55, 06 November 2012 | Report This Post


Amour

For me, it wasn't as gut-punching as "The White Ribbon", but that doesn't mean that it's not gut-punching. As usual with Haneke, it is devastating, and Trintignant and Riva are superb. You can love it or you can hate it. Again, for me, one of the best of the year. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nc_jj at 04:04, 05 November 2012 | Report This Post


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