Review by Pete Mason
Love is the name and theme of “Amour,” the Palme D’Or winner at Cannes and one of the year’s best foreign films throughout America and Europe. Written and directed by Michael Haneke (“The White Ribbon”), the film follows an elderly couple, retired from years of teaching music and enjoying their later years, until Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) suffers a stroke, leading her husband Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) to take care of her in a most patient and caring manner.
While it may sound depressing, the film is more a show of the long term effects of a relationship and the love within that does not cease or fade when faced with the beginnings of the end of life. The truest form of love, one that is unwavering in the face of the final stages of life, coupled with Georges’ calculated and paced tending to of his wife as she slowly falls victim to the affects of her multiple strokes is the truest definition of love and justifies the boldly named film.
Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva are far from household names in America, but in France, they are two of the nation’s finest actors, and I would go so far as to compare Trintignant to Jack Nicholson and Riva to Jessica Tandy, both for their patient, calm and reserved demeanors, particularly in their later years. Both are capable of drawing your attention to their every line, their movement and particularly the emotion in their eyes, drawing you in deep enough that it feels as though you are in this large Paris apartment where one half of a couple takes care of the other half as though it were a routine part of life, sans argument or debate.