Speaking of boring films, Amour is one helluva piece of work. While films about death can be engaging and even eye opening, Michael Haneke’s film is arduously true to life. The film follows an octogenarian couple facing the end of their lives in their French flat. After Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) suffers a stroke, her husband Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) must care for her as she slowly dies. This tests his intense love for her, causing him to lose his mind as hers deteriorates.
Both Riva and Trintignant deliver powerful performances that make the film feel even more painstakingly real. Haneke’s writing and direction are also vividly realistic. But this film feels more like a horror film for audiences over the age of 60. Perfectly capturing this couple dying of old age, it serves almost as a warning of what’s to come in most of our lives (and most likely hitting too close to home for the aforementioned demographic). It’s enough to make you want to kill yourself at age 50.
Because this is a foreign-langue film, shots dwell languorously on the minutiae of their lives. Do we need a 5-minute shot of Georges clipping flowers to know what he is doing? Most of this film is comprised of this painful realism, increasing the inevitable horror of old age. As strokes continue to ravage Anne’s mind, can you really blame her for begging Georges to end her life?
This year’s batch of Best Pictures is bloated with excessively long films (like Lincoln, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Zero Dark Thirty); and Amour fits right in with them. Its extensive length causes you to almost forget Riva’s compelling performance or Haneke’s brilliance in telling such a “normal” story. However, Amour is a horrific film to sit through and a horrific glimpse into old age.