Amour begins with firemen breaking into a flat in France, where they discover Anne’s (Emmanuelle Riva) deceased corpse lying on her bed, elegantly dressed, eyes closed and with flower petals scattered around her. Her husband Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) nowhere to be seen.
We’re then taken back to an earlier time where the couple were at a Schubert concert performed by Anne’s former student Alexandre (professional pianist Alexandre Tharaud), who later comes to visit them, as does their daughter, Eva (Isabelle Huppert), on a handful of occasions throughout the film.
The film then simply follows the couple as they live their humble lives, coming across as a touching tale of old age and the illness that accompanies it, since Anne has a stroke and dvelops paralysis down her right-hand side. We see both of them trying to come to terms with Anne’s condition – Georges, as he has to look after her increasingly, and Anne, herself, as she suffers an increasing indignity of her body turning into a lifeless shell.
They have a love that any couple would be proud to have, which is a testament to the incredible performances from the two leads, in what is basically a two-hander.
Amour It leaves the memories of the film in your mind for a long time as you try to play out certain things in your head. You can’t really say a lot more about it other than it’s incredibly powerful and emotive stuff, and a captivating work of art to behold. Also, I love the aspect that there’s a lot of scenes where the camera is kept in one fixed position, sometimes turning as characters go back and forth across a room. Such a simple device, but so effective. More filmmakers should do this.
As an aside, It’s also the only film I can think of which has no opening or closing music.
Presented in the original 1.85:1 theatrical ratio and in 1080p high definition, the picture is sharp and detailed with no faults, bringing the simpleness and misery to the fore in one of the best films I’ve seen this year so far. For the record, I’m watching on a Panasonic 50″ Plasma screen via a Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray player.
As for the sound, this is in DTS 5.1, but it’s mostly dialogue with the occasional classical music pieces and has no faults with any of that.
The extras are as follows:
- Introduction by Philippe Rouyer, co-author of ‘Haneke by Haneke’ (8:51): The author talks about why Michael Haneke chose to make certain elements in the film the way that they were because it made it a very personal film. I don’t want to go into detail about such things as they would give spoilers.
He goes on to mention Haneke’s choice of lead actor down to Jean-Louis Trintignant’s “mysterious nature and expressive eyes”. Additionally, as you watch Rouyet, with the camera slowly zooming in on his big face, you can’t escape the fact his mouth is full of far too much saliva…
- The Making of Amour (25:46): Michael Haneke talks about the layout of the apartment – and again, I don’t want to give any spoilers as to why this is important – and there’s also chat from Emmanuelle Riva, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Isabelle Huppert, as well as on-set and test footage.
- Jean-Louis Trintignant talks about Amour (7:29): As well as doing what it says on the tin, in addition you see his involvement in Haneke’s The White Balloon and how they only met when it came time to make Amour
- Theatrical trailer (1:56): Mostly, this is a reasonable trailer but it highlights one aspect of the film in the last part of it which I would rather they had left us to discover. Thankfully, I saw this trailer *after* I’d watched the film.
The menu is static with the music of Schubert’s “Impromptu, No. 3 in G-Flat Major”. There are subtitles in English only, and the chaptering is a woeful 12 over the 127-minute running time. I go by the rule of thumb of one every five minutes, taking into account one each for the opening and closing credits.
Running time: 127 minutes
Date of release: March 18th 2013
Distributor: Artificial Eye
Cat no: ART057BD
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS 5.1
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Michael Haneke
Producers: Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka, Michael Katz and Margaret Ménégoz
Screenplay: Michael Haneke
Georges: Jean-Louis Trintignant
Anne: Emmanuelle Riva
Eva: Isabelle Huppert
Alexandre: Alexandre Tharaud
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.