Amour - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Amour Reviews

Page 1 of 76
Super Reviewer
May 28, 2012
It is always impressive to see how Haneke can be so subtle and forceful as with this magnificent and devastating oeuvre about aging, devotion, love and death - a work that surprises us for its deep tenderness and honesty while striking us with an overwhelming emotional power.
Super Reviewer
½ February 21, 2013
Good lord....the pace of this movie was excruciating!! I get that it was emotional, moving, and the entire idea very heartfelt. HOWEVER, it was sooooo long, and soooooo slow. I couldn't take it. After the first 40 min, I ended up watching the rest on slow fast forward. Oh you French movie lovers! How do you sit through these?? sigh...
Super Reviewer
½ September 1, 2013
An intimate, delicate portrayal of an older couple and how the wife (Emmanuelle Riva) begins to fail in health, and how her husband (Jean-Louis Trinitgnant) struggles to keep up with her many needs and she slips further into depression and poor health. Director Michael Haneke has acquired the reputation of a director who is not afraid to pull out tricks out of his sleeve, and he does so here at one big moment, but ultimately this is a mostly straightforward, realistic look at getting older and the slippery slope keeping in good health becomes over time. It is a sad, somber, pretty slow-moving story, but one that needs to be in order to get the message across correctly. The twist that occurs is definitely unsettling, but also one that is not predictable at all given the nature of the story. It is a hard-hitting look at love and seeing someone die in front of you in a quick, alarming way, but it is all handled phenomenally well by a master behind the camera in Haneke.
Nate Z.
Super Reviewer
March 7, 2013
No other foreign film in 2012 racked up as many awards as Amour, a.k.a. Love, by Austrian writer/director Michael Haneke. It's a love story but it shows the end of that love story, the part where the happily ever after meets the uncomfortable reality we must all eventually face. So, essentially, Haneke has crafted a horror film about getting old (This can happen to you, youngsters!). It's a hard film to watch, though for me not just because of the subject matter but also because of the maddening ways that Haneke chooses to tell his art-house tales of woe.

Anne (Emannuelle Riva) and Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) are an 80-year-old married couple living in Paris. They are both retired musical teachers, they go about their days together, enjoying one another's companionship. Then Anne suffers a stroke and starts slipping into senility. Her condition worsens and Georges tries to care for her increasing needs himself, buoyed by her fleeting moments where it seems like her normal self returns. But there's only one way this story can end, and George must come to terms with letting go of his life's love.

I will probably come across like a heartless bastard but that is the risk I'm willing to take; I found this movie to be rather boring and was, after an hour, just waiting for Anne to die so that the movie would likewise be at a merciful end. I'm just not a Haneke fan. I didn't like Cache, I didn't like (both) Funny Games, and I didn't like The White Ribbon. In fact, while watching Amour I was reminded of all the reasons I dislike Haneke's style. There was a sequence where a character leaves a room, but rather than follow that character or cut, the camera holds on the scene for an extended period of time, like 40 seconds, until the actor returns. I said, "Oh, I just remember he did the same thing in The White Ribbon, and I hated it then and I hate it now." Want to watch an old man chase after a pigeon for five minutes? Oh, I get it, the pigeon is a metaphor, but did I need five minutes of it? I find Haneke's sense of storytelling to be so glacial and, mostly, a spiral of kamikaze nihilism that's usually distasteful. He's such a cold filmmaker and the idea of him handling a 'love story" seems dubious. It's hard to watch a Haneke film and feel good about it. And that's fine, the world needs downer filmmakers who will tackle serious subjects, but this guy is just not for me. With that said, take everything I recount in my review and analysis with a measure of consideration.

I know my power of empathy is alive and well, so I have to stop and run a diagnostic examination as to why I found it hard to really engage with this movie. I'm sure part of it is my relative youth in comparison to the onscreen couple. Death is still a mostly abstract concept I choose to be blissfully ignorant over. But that can?t be fully it. I went through a similar experience helping to care for my 91-year-old grandmother when she died (she lived with my parents for years before her eventual passing). It's not the same as losing a spouse, naturally, but I do have a relatable entry point. Maybe it was the acting, which was free of any sort of showy actorly tricks we may expect from people reaching the big end. Death scenes have long been a staple of overacting, but underplaying it can also rob the movie of worthy emotional opportunities, and with an artist like Haneke, you may not get many more opportunities to soak up. While I had heard raves about Riva, and make no mistake she is quite good, I cannot help but think, "Yeah... but?." She?s quite convincing at showing the frailty of aging but she?s also practically comatose for half of the movie (I know I'm a Jennifer Lawrence homer, but glad she won the Oscar). And then Haneke tries to get clever with his ending, especially since he had been so straightforward for the previous two hours. The ending, a possible point of confusion, doesn't feel like it fits the exacting, grounded reality I just barely stayed awake for.

Amour is really less about Anne, the one slowly dying, as it is Georges coming to terms with his own selfishness, prolonging his love's life after the point of dignity and mercy. It's about how he comes to terms with the reality that he cannot care for his beloved, that she is too much of a burden, and that she ultimately wants to die and will fight her husband to achieve this wish. Again, this is an extremely dramatic storyline that could have developed some monstrously powerful examinations about end-of-life care. Sadly, I just didn't, well, care too much. The relationship between Anne and Georges is very thinly realized onscreen. I'm sorry but I hate it when a character is afflicted so early in a story and that affliction becomes the stand-in for what should be proper characterization. All I know about Anne is her deteriorating condition. I don't know about her life, her personality, her relationship with her husband before senility sets in. I?m just supposed to automatically feel for her because she's old and suffered a stroke and her husband really cares a lot. Haneke's storytelling has not done an adequate job to involve me. The actors, both quite good, can only do so much. There's a reason that Hollywood has its heroines start the Cough That Symbolizes Terminal Illness when we hit the third act because by that time we've gotten to know them and care about their ultimate plight.

Now, Amour is goes about its death business sin a very sensitive but unsentimental way, which has and will likely emotionally devastate many a viewer. There are serious and hard discussions the movie gives adequate attention to, like how far can one spouse cope with care, when does holding on serve as a detriment, breaking the news to heartsick family members that your loved one isn't getting any better, coming to terms with the inevitable, the tricky debate about what comes next as far as inheritances, and whether the person who is suffering should have a say in their care or lack thereof. It's refreshing that serious decisions are given serious consideration, but like everything else, Haneke drags these out to great lengths that I stopped caring.

I find Haneke to be an outrageously overrated filmmaker of clinical coldness and occasional contempt. Just watch Funny Games to see what the man's opinion is for most movie audiences lapping up your rote thrillers. Better yet, if you?re like me, don't see Funny Games, and don't see The White Ribbon, and don't see Amour. I fully acknowledge I'm out on a critical limb here, cherishing my minority status, but I found this Oscar-winning film to be painfully ponderous and emotionally closed off. I'm happy people can watch Amour and see a great, tragic, affecting love story, because I don't see it. The actors do fine jobs but the characterization is weak, relying upon circumstance and affliction in place of characterization. Maybe, and this is just a harebrained theory, but maybe Haneke dragged his movie out so long to symbolize Georges' journey, so that we too, the audience, felt like when the end came it was a relief. I know for me, it did. Whatever Haneke does next, you can count me out. I'm done with the guy. After all, life?s too short to endure more plodding Haneke films.

Nate's Grade: C+
Super Reviewer
March 1, 2013
An elderly man takes care of his wife as she suffers mutliple strokes, becomes an invalid, and slowly dies. Starts slow and turns excruciatingly emotional; hardcore dramaheads will swoon.
Super Reviewer
February 28, 2013
Danish director Bille August was the only director to win back-to-back Palme d'Or awards at the Cannes Film Festival (in 1988 & 1992) with his film's "Pelle The Conqueror" and "The Best Intentions". That was, until Austrian director Michael Haneke recently equalled that achievement. His first came in 2009 with "The White Ribbon" and he done it again in 2012 with this deeply emotional and profound film that's been heralded by many as a masterpiece.
Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) are couple of retired music teachers who have been married a long time and are now enjoying life in their eighties. One morning at breakfast, Anne displays some unusual behaviour and becomes momentarily distant without any memory of doing so. It's transpires that she has suffered a stroke which leads to symptoms of dementia. Georges takes on her care but the very close relationship this couple once shared, is put to it's greatest test.
I'm not one for giving away spoilers but that decision is taken out of my hands straight away by Michael Haneke. He gives us an opening scene of firemen breaking down an apartment door to find the deceased body of an elderly woman lying on her bed with flower arrangements around her. Following this - in bold letters - the seemingly contradictory title of the film is displayed; "Amour" - or the English translation; "Love". It's a powerful opening and from the off-set Haneke shows his confidence by delivering the ending at the very beginning. However, it's the journey up to this point that's the real story behind this film.
When we are introduced to our protagonists, Georges and Anne, we are given a glimpse into their daily lives and how familiar and comfortable they are in each others company. It's obvious that they've shared a lot of time together but it's also this sense of realism that packs the real punch, when the health of Anne rapidly deteriorates.
Set, almost entirely, within the couples' household, Haneke uses the space and setting masterfully. It's subtly done but on slightly closer inspection you can see that the house is in slight disrepair much like the failing health of this elderly couple. Despite time being against these people in their twilight years, time also seems to slow right down in their home. Haneke builds slowly and refuses to be rushed. He lingers long on shots and reactions and refuses to use any form of a music score to manipulate or force you to feel. What you witness is raw and uncompromising and rarely is such reality and authenticity captured on screen.
This a profound and honest exploration of mortality and the nature of ageing; the loneliness involved and the humiliation and inability to maintain dignity. It's heartbreaking to witness the deterioration of an individual and the performance of the Oscar nominated, veteran French actress, Emmanuelle Riva is an astounding piece of acting. Trintignant also puts in some very fine work as the loving husband who finds himself out of his depth and his frustration begins to show in his level of care and compassion.
As is normally the case in Haneke's film's, all is not plain sailing. There's a depth and ambiguity involved. The couples' relationship with their daughter seems distant and strained and there's a recurring, symbolic, appearance of a pigeon that keeps entering the household. On the surface, it would seem that this film is simply an honest commentary of flailing health and fading memories but it also operates at a depth beyond this.
A deserved Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film. This is sensitive, emotional and deeply involving filmmaking which tackles a part of life that's rarely touched upon. It's a beautiful piece of work but also the most devastating love story you'll likely to see.
Super Reviewer
February 25, 2013
A completely devastating and unflinching look at old age though an amazing screenplay and two unbearably good performances. Full review later.
Super Reviewer
February 1, 2013
Michael Haneke's Amour is one of the most accomplished films of 2012 and proves that you can tell a great story that evokes emotion using the simplest of ideas. Brilliantly acted by Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant who give mesmerizing performances as Anne and George a couple in their eighties who are retired music teachers. When Anne has an attack that puts her in a catatonic state, Georges and Anne's love will be tested. Amour is not a film for everyone as it more an art house film that is very different from traditional movies. The film tells a compelling love story that also reveals the hardships of becoming old and losing the one you love due to poor health. What I truly loved about the film was the depiction of true love on camera. You really felt that the characters were indeed in love, and it was truly captivating to watch. I personally feel that love is almost a commodity nowadays, but with movie it was sublime to see that true love existed between the characters. This has got to be the finest Foreign film since The Artist and it is a must see for film buffs looking for a true piece of cinema that will evoke certain emotions. Amour is a beautiful movie that deserves all the acclaim it has received. The cast do a fine job in their performances, and you simply cannot tear yourself away from the screen. This is filmmaking at its finest, when a simple story told in subtle form can be a true piece of art. Of all the films that came out in 2012, this has got to be the most heartfelt and most captivating picture of the bunch. If you love a truly compelling, dramatic story that has some wonderful performances, then you owe it to yourself to see Amour. Films like this are rare, and it shows this has substance over style, and evokes touches of a lost art, and that is to make a picture that has stellar performances and evokes genuine emotion with the simplest of plots. Amour is not a film for everyone as it is slow paced and quite depressing, but it is worth seeing if you want a truly remarkable and memorable film that you soon won't forget.
Super Reviewer
January 29, 2013
Silent, but pervading. Brutal, but tender. Amour (2012, Austria) is another Michael Haneke masterpiece with sincere depth, love, and devotion. Of an octogenarian couple troubled with the interminable reality of life, Amour is a riveting masterpiece that bares the curious combination of grace, love, and death.
Super Reviewer
January 28, 2013
Admittedly, I have had some trouble really wanting to find the time to write a whole bunch about Michael Haneke's latest emotionally draining film Amour. I have joked in many instances about it being "one of the best comedies of the year" or "a laugh riot," but more because I do genuinely think it is a fine piece of dramatic filmmaking, as opposed to it being The foreign film that you Have to see This year (also, I'm immature). The film can be bluntly described as being about getting old and dying, but there is more to it, which reflects how a lengthy relationship is tested and reflected on in the wake of the inevitable. Georges (Jean-Louis Trintigant) and Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) are in their 80s. They are retired music teachers. One day, Anne has a stroke, which changes the dynamic of their relationship, given that things are about to change in a very significant way.

I was happy to correctly predict that Haneke would receive an Oscar nomination for his direction of this film. What Amour is able to accomplish from non-flashy, very deliberately cold direction is a film that does not pull any punches and manages to put the viewer right in the reality that these characters are experiencing. More surprising was seeing Riva be nominated for Best Actress, but I certainly find it to be deserved (It's important to note that Trintignant is fantastic as well). Both actors are doing tremendous work at making this film accomplish what it needs to, without ever having the film feel sappy. It is sad and emotional for sure (various events are the reason why I delayed writing this for so long), but never in a position of betraying the tone that this film is going for in favor of a more traditionally commercial way to handle this subject matter.

Amour is certainly not a film that I definitely need to revisit again, very soon, but that should not take away from how much of an effective piece of filmmaking it is, which deserves the recognition it has received. It is an honest, well-acted, and tough film to watch. It is also a difficult, but more accessible film from Haneke, who loves to challenge his audience.
Super Reviewer
January 14, 2013
Life can be miserable and so what? Pierre Murat, writing to TÚlÚrama, couldn't describe better what I thought: "When Ingmar Bergman, long ago, especially in 'Cries and Whispers',endlessly showed the cries of pain of a dying woman, he had a goal: given the importance of each and every life, to criticize the deafening silence of God. Michael Haneke also films the groans and moans, but not even for a moment we understand why."
Super Reviewer
January 11, 2013
As his brittle hands guide the butter knife through his lunch, Georges tells his ailing wife Anne that he doesn't always remember the movies that he sees, just the emotions that he felt while watching them. Although I resonate with this sentiment, it doesn't completely apply to a film like Michael Hanake's latest effort Amour. An absolutely devastating look at love in it's twilight that you will likely not soon forget.

Aided by remarkable performances by Jean-Louis Trintignant & Emmanuelle Riva, Amour will leave an indelible impression on your soul. Trintignant & Riva not only manage to infuse their characters with unique identities, what remains of a lifetime of idiosyncrasies & mannerisms, but also how their lives are inextricably entwined.
At the onset of Anne's decline, Hanake exhaustively captures the banalities of taking care of an invalid. From a lingering shot of the new mattress-her deathbed-being tested out in their home, to every painstaking second we get of Georges lifting her either off the toilet or back into her wheelchair, viewers cannot escape the weight of Anne's deterioration. We aren't even spared the uncomfortable conversations with family. All of whom have great intentions, but in the end must through their hands up in vexation; unable to decide what to do with their beloved.

Notwithstanding the agony, Amour is in many ways one of the most romantic films that I have ever seen. While films such as Serendipity & Sweet Home Alabama know how to appeal to those who prefer loins-churning young love, Hanake shows the viewer what love is when the energy to reciprocate fades & all you have to cling to is a memory. When the gentle conversations vanish & all that remains is a shell of what once was. It's a heart-wrenching honest look at true love, untouched by sentimentality.

Perhaps most unsettling of all, Hanake also probes into Anne's plight. Into the onerous predicament of needing love, but not wanting to burden it.

For a film so small, its impact is immeasurable.
During one point Anne begs Georges "leave me in peace." At the conclusion of Hanake's masterpiece, you'll be saying to yourself, "were it only that easy."
Super Reviewer
January 11, 2013
Miraculously, "Amour" manages to be consistently engaging and tense while still moving at a slow, somber pace. This balancing act is due first and foremost to the performances, which are realistically pained and emotionally real (these actors are, after all, elderly people playing characters dealing with the all-too-real threat of imminent death.) The length of the shots accentuates these actors' talents, as well as the fantastic dialogue, which always feels genuine. It may become rather too vague and bloated with symbolism by the end, but "Amour" brings such a painful yet beautiful story to life in a way that is very rarely accomplished.
Super Reviewer
½ December 29, 2012
"Amour" is a french movie about the bond between an elderly couple and how they face their greatest challenge. Georges and Anne are both in their eighties and have a daughter that lives abroad. One day Anna suffers a stroke, then she suffers another stroke which leaves her devastated physically and mentally. She can barely speak or move, and has little to no motor skills. Georges made a promise to her that he wouldn't put her in a home, so he takes care of her in their apartment. The acting in the movie is very good, but the film moves very slow. It's a very quiet movie, with long stretches of silence and no music playing. This reminded me a lot of a movie called "Away from Here" that dealt with an elderly couple battling the effects of Alzheimers. Both movies are sad and have a haunting quality to them. If you want to watch a very depressing movie that will make you not want to grow old, then check it out! If you want to stay happy, or watch something to make you happy, then stay as far away from this as you can.
Bill D 2007
Super Reviewer
December 24, 2012
In reviewing Michael Haneke's disturbing film "The Piano Teacher" from 2001, I said that a distinctive trait of Haneke's direction was that it was "pitiless in its depiction of human frailty" -- moral and psychological frailty, that is.

Now Haneke for the first time turns his attention to physical frailty. In "Amour" (Love), his new film, he looks at bodily decay in a starkly frank but somewhat tender way. We watch as an 80-something woman has two strokes, becomes gradually incapacitated, and wastes away before our eyes. We quite literally watch death occur. We also watch her 80-something husband help her in her last days in their Paris apartment and struggle with the excruciating decision of whether to help her die sooner.

The problem is that there's almost no script. It's just 2 hours of watching this woman struggle to eat, wash, and go to the bathroom. "Amour" says very little about its subject. It just depicts it. There is some artistic and humanitarian value in looking with open eyes at the long slow decline that most of us will go through and the difficulties our loved ones will have helping us in our last days.

But "Amour" doesn't do much with this. Ultimately, it's a thin piece of work. Emanuelle Riva does a good job bringing this woman's suffering to life. Her agony is heart-breaking. But of course this subject matter is going to break one's heart. A serious work of art has to do more than that. Death is tough. Is that what Haneke means to say with "Amour"? I suspect everyone already knows that.
Jason Lalljee
Super Reviewer
½ December 8, 2012
An intimate, slow-moving work of poetry. A film that's not for everyone, but it should be seen by everyone. Heartbreakingy beautiful.
Super Reviewer
½ May 31, 2012
Another example of why the best love stories are made outside of America. A harrowing and beautiful depiction of love, getting older and how illness effects yourself and the people around you. Well done Mr. Haneke.
Super Reviewer
December 5, 2012
If you're expecting to see a movie about love, you're mistaken. It was long, cold and hard to watch. It's a movie about the dark and destructive side of an illness, where the bond between two people is tested. I craved for some tenderness and was so dense after all the depressing stuff that I couldn't even cry at the end. I'm still not sure if I should give it 3,5 or 4 stars, but because it's a little unconventional I'll stick to 4.
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