Review: AMOUR (EUFF 2013) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Review: AMOUR (EUFF 2013)

An intimate and heartbreaking, if painfully slow-moving drama of love and sacrifice in the twilight years.

Winners of the coveted Palme d'Or in the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and Best Foreign Language Film of the Year in the 2013 Oscar, Michael Haneke's AMOUR has been receiving mostly universal acclaims from critics all around the world. And in the conjunction of 14th European Union Film Festival (EUFF), I'm glad the movie has finally made its way to local cinemas.

AMOUR centers around Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne (Emmanuelle Riva), two 80s-something retired music teachers who both live in a cosy flat outside Paris. They enjoy peaceful life together until one day over breakfast, Anne suddenly goes silent in the middle of a conversation with Georges. Anne manages to regain consciousness a few moments later, but doesn't recall what happens to her. Georges insists Anne to see a doctor regarding her health condition. Things get worse when Anne ends up paralyzed on one side and relies on a wheelchair to get around. At this time, Georges takes his new responsibility to take extra care of her in every way possible. But his responsibilities becomes more challenging when Anne suffers a severe stroke.
As an intimate portrait of two elderly couples facing a share of difficulties together, writer-director Michael Haneke unflinchingly explores the grim side of life experiences. There is no sugarcoated moments, except raw and emotionally devastating scenes in painstaking details. Haneke also bold enough to challenge the viewers on issue of how far can one person go in the name of love and sacrifice.

Interestingly enough, the movie is mainly a two-character showcase who are seen entirely in the confine of a flat (save for the concert scene at the beginning). It's certainly a tough act but both Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva deliver one of the finest roles ever seen in their long careers. Their performances are truly remarkable that it's hard not to get moved by their life throughout the movie.

The "shocking" scene involving the fate of Anne's life.

Clocking at 127-minute long, I admit that AMOUR suffers from plenty of slow-moving paces throughout the movie. Plus, Haneke's frequently static direction can be a real test of patience for most of the viewers.

While AMOUR is hardly perfect, it remains one of the best movies of the year.

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