Alert
Close

Help pack a million meals for struggling seniors on Sept. 11. Volunteer today

Highlights

Open

 

Movies for Grownups

 

Caucasian couple looking at a laptop computer together

Horoscope

Virgo - AARP Horoscope

Look at what your future holds if your birthday is between August 23 & September 22

Contests & Sweeps

Enter the $50K Picture Your Retirement Sweepstakes. Ends 8/31/15. No purchase necessary. Enter for Official Rules.

AARP REALPAD

The tablet with free 24/7 customer support. Learn More

Most Popular

Viewed

'Amour' Explores Love and Death

Powerful and provocative French film follows a couple's final challenge


Director: Michael Haneke
Rating: PG-13. Running Time: 2 hrs. 7 min.
Stars: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert
In French with English subtitles

"Your concern is no use to me," 80-something Georges tells his daughter, who worries about him caring for his dying wife at home. "I don't have time to deal with your concern."

Indeed, he does not. Georges' days are an endless blur of lifting, lowering, feeding, medicating, negotiating with doctors and caregivers … and most of all, watching the woman he has loved his entire life slip away.

We're giving away $50,000! See official rules.

Amour, writer/director Michael Haneke's two-hour-plus meditation on commitment, love and the areas where they dovetail (and occasionally cancel each other out), is not for the faint of heart. Anyone who has ever served as a high-intensity caregiver will feel as if Haneke has been around hiding in a closet or lurking outside a window. The physical and atmospheric things that he gets right — the dead light from the curtained windows, the still life of meds and paraphernalia on the end table, the awkward arrangement of chairs around the rented hospital bed — heighten Amour's sense of ominous realism.

But this is no stark slice-of-life narrative. Amour is as artful as it is authentic. As Georges, veteran French actor Jean-Louis Trintignant plays a thoughtful plodder — performing the rituals of caregiving but seldom losing sight of the significance of each act. As his wife, Anne, Emmanuelle Riva is not brave, nor is she pitiful — she faces her fate fiercely and eventually turns her lonely battle inward, much to the dismay of Georges, who feels compelled to participate in her decline. Director Haneke holds a shot longer than just about any other filmmaker around, and while his technique heightens that sense of endless days and relentless routines, his faultless sense of composition renders each scene uniquely compelling.

The film's drama plays out almost entirely in a lovely Paris apartment, through which pass their daughter (Isabelle Huppert) and the couple's former music students. As the visitors come and go, each one as well-meaning as the last, Georges' exasperation grows. Just as Anne has set off on a path of her own, Georges senses that he, too, is on his own journey. Visitors, to him, are little more than a mounting distraction.

I can't say you'll enjoy Amour. That would probably be an inappropriate reaction, in fact. Hollywood has conditioned us to expect swelling violins and tearful, meaningful final exchanges as characters draw close to death. Within the four walls of Georges and Anne's apartment, there's very little in the way of drama and nothing in the way of ceremony. When the end finally comes, it occurs in a manner that we never really expect, yet find hauntingly inevitable.

At Amour's final frame, we find ourselves with Georges' daughter, wandering around the apartment, wondering what to think. And that is precisely the idea.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Your Scoop on Cinema

Movies for Grownups is focused on films with distinct relevance to a 50-plus audience. In reviews, previews and interviews, we look for actors and themes that speak to the experiences of older moviegoers. Find more about us on:

 

Advertisement
100 Must-See Movies for Grownups

100 Must-See Movies for Grownups

By Bill Newcott
E-book
January 2015


A treasure trove of delightfully offbeat recommendations for discerning moviegoers, from the beginnings of film right up the present.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Live Nation

Members save 25% or more when buying tickets in groups of four from Ticketmaster.

Cirque Du Soleil

Members save 15-30% on tickets to live Cirque du Soleil shows.

Member Benefit AARP Regal 2

Members pay $8 for Regal ePremiere tickets purchased online. Conditions apply.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points

Advertisement