In a perfect world Emmanuelle Riva would win the Oscar for Best Actress but then, in a perfect world, her co-star Jean-Louis Trintignant would at least have received a nomination for Best Actor and he didn't In “Amour”, the movie they costar in, they are not actors creating roles but real people you believe in, understand, feel for and identify with, no matter your age.
“Amour” is a mass of contradictions showing all sides of life and love and that neither life or love, or both, mean ‘happily ever after’. The film is a depressing one but, at the same time, shows you how two people can love each other without saying the words. We know how the movie will end because it starts with the police breaking into an apartment and finding Anne, (Emmanuelle Riva) dead in bed surrounded by flowers. After that the title is announced, the credits start and the next scene shows Anne and Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant), retired music teachers, at a concert given by a former student and then the following morning, when, at the breakfast table, she starts staring off into space and suffers a stroke caused by a blocked artery .
The screenplay by Michael Haneke, who also directed, tells the story from the male point of view when half of a devoted team becomes a caretaker and watches the partner he has loved for so long deteriorate. At first he tries to handle it alone but it becomes too much and he hires two nurses but finds one treating his wife like a baby and taking away her dignity so with much rage showing in his eyes and controlled voice he tells her to get out. Their daughter Eva (Isabelle Huppert) lives overseas, very much involved with tensions between her and her husband, and has drifted from her parents though she remembers walking in on them when she was young and they were having sex, making love and enjoying it closing out the rest of the world, including her.
Watching Riva and Trintignant expressing love with touches, looks, smiles and memories makes you forget you are watching a movie with actors being told where to stand and what to say. You feel you are looking into a world very few couples ever experience and the consequences of life no matter how much you love someone.
“Amour” is a very slow moving movie but every moment counts and you get so caught up with the couple there are two points that you will involuntarily gasp as the whole audience does and when the movie ends you want it to go on. The ending caused many controversies between moviegoers as they walked out of the auditorium.
This is a special love story showing what can happen at the end rather than at the beginning of mating for life, for ‘better or worse’.