How does one define the oh so complicated thing we call love? Is it found in a kiss, a touch—or in the way two people are able to merely withstand the silence together that defines this lifelong commitment? One could argue that it’s both, but if Michael Haneke’s (The White Ribbon) Amour taught us anything it’s that love can be a definite piece of work. And what happens when your other half can no longer find a reason to want to carry on—when the trips into the city just don’t excite, when the mind grows old, when the body starts to get tired, and when the all good parts of life seem sadly over and done with? Even worse, when the mind stops operating like it once did? For lifelong partners Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) and Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) who are in their 80s and are reaching their endpoints, both are finding that somehow after all is said and done, the last days are the hardest.
The love between Anne and Georges is strong. The two—both former music teachers—have one daughter, Eva (Isabelle Huppert), also a musician. But when Anne starts to undergo mysterious psychological attacks that leave her bedridden in pain, unable to reciprocate normal conversation, and in an overall awestruck state, Georges is forced to take on the duties of caring for his partner that long ago he promised to care for “till death do us part.”
Things sort of take a turn when Anne reveals to Georges that she no longer wants to live, that she’s tired; reading a book in bed suffices anything else—putting their relationship to the test. But through it all they find laughter in the roughness of Anne’s situation; their beautiful mutual understanding and acceptance of each other shines through any sort of feud or annoyance.
What really makes the story of Anne and Georges outstanding is the acting, especially when Anne’s state starts really dwindling—it is stirring. The film is up for five Academy Award nominations for this year’s Oscars (Best Picture, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Directing, Best Actress, and Best Original Screenplay), and there are many reasons Amour could very well take the cake in all five of those categories for its atypical story that could make you a believer in love.
(photo via ZAP2it)