Amour [2012] ★★★½

Amour-1What can you say about a film that is so vividly real, and so intense, that it holds you spellbound for two hours, without letup? “Amour” would be superior filmmaking under any circumstances. With rare subtlety and transforming art, the remarkable writer-director Michael Haneke takes us into the emotional heart of an old french couple. Both are in their 80’s. Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne (The magnificent Emmanuelle Riva) are retired music teachers living comfortably in Paris. Then one day Anne suffers two strokes. This is just the first chapter of an unfolding story that involves circumstance, choice and love. Go ahead, call it melodramatic. No matter. The movie will wipe you out. Haneke’s previous films were all memorable. And this is one of his best films yet, a high-wire act of visual daring and tour de force performances. All praise to Emmanuelle Riva, whose performance as Anne, bedridden, defines the word “extraordinary.” And Jean-Louis Trintignant is superb as her husband. Their acting couldn’t be more naturalistic, adding to a feeling that we are simply watching life unfold. And like real life, what happens is impossible to predict. “Amour” is a devastating drama, superbly presented and not to be missed. I’ll say no more. The movie is best opened fresh. But there’s no way that you’ll get it out of your dreams.

Rating: 3.5/4

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