Review: Amour

28 February 2013

Matthew Wade looks at the 2012 Palme d’or winner.

Today, the idea of love lacks focus. The manner in which this emotion is elicited varies widely from person to person. Generational gaps, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate and MTV reality shows are to blame for this, resulting in the obscurity of love. To some people love may now mean having a non-committal sexual partner who, to come across as romantic, occasionally throws in an overnight stay for good measure. For myself, it’s using Boyz II Men to provide ambience during a candlelit evening between the sheets. So due to the seemingly flexible nature of love, has it now become an idea that is undefinable?

One has to look no further than Michael Haneke’s latest film Amour to see that there is still hope yet. The film won the Austrian writer/director his second consecutive Palme d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival last year, and rightly so. It presents a very bleak and tragic narrative, yet one which conveys love in its most raw and honest form. As an audience we follow the story of an elderly Parisian couple, Georges and Anne, played respectively by Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva. Together the two protagonists struggle to cope with an affliction Anne is suffering. It is through this progressive struggle that Haneke has crafted an acute definition of love. We empathise. We cry. We see a level of care so deep-rooted and unwavering between the couple that the question of love and what it truly is ceases to exist. It is not an easy film to get through, but certainly an affecting one; a true marvel in storytelling.

This cinematic wonder has incredible worth as an insight into one of the most basic human emotions. If you’re still unconvinced however, the title speaks for itself.

Amour is in limited release now.

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