Michael Haneke’s movies have always been too distant and cold. There’s a clinical feeling to them. He creates uncomfortable scenarios and let them resolve by themselves. You wouldn’t feel the filmmaker’s presence in any of the scenes.
But this is not the case with his award winning Amour. In the movie, the actors fought with Haneke’s aesthetics without being obvious about it. It is about the end of life and all the memories, agony, and sorrows that come with it.
Amour is a simple movie. It is about George (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) as an old married couple in their 80s. They are both retired music teachers and still active despite their old age.
One morning the inevitable happened. Anne stops talking at the breakfast table and turns into a statue. George thinks that she is just joking and starts to be concerned when suddenly she snaps out of it. Anne has no clue as to what happened.
And it’s all downhill from that moment. George watches his wife lose more of her motor skills. She is in decline and starts to shut down. Filmmaker Haneke tries to keep his distance and allow the characters deal with the situation. George is witnessing Anne vanish in front of him.
George doesn’t let out any expression to show sorrow but it shows in his eyes. Every time Anne declines a bit, he pulls himself together to cope with the change. Viewers see him crumble inside and his acceptance in the end.
Trintignant captures the essence of a man accepting the inevitable. We see his sadness at a loss that has already happened before it comes to reality. Riva handles her role well. She acts only with her eyes and yet you see someone struggling for her life.
Amour reaches an emotional level that could dismay the unattached Haneke. It provides a window into what can happen for couples in love and want to stay with each other until the end.