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Released 16 November 2012
Director Michael Haneke

Jean-Louis Trintingnant, Emmanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert, Alexandre Tharaud
Writer(s) Michael Haneke

Margaret Menegoz, Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka, Michael Katz
Origin Austria, France, Germany
Running Time 127 minutes
Genre Drama
Rating 12A

Till death do us part.

Our screens are filled with both romantic comedies and romantic dramas alike – filled to the breaking point resulting in us often being provided with what can only really be described as tripe. These tend to generally focus around young love and the promise of a bright future, a better tomorrow and, most of all, a happy ending. This, of course, is a vision seen through rose-tinted glasses. The future is just as difficult as the past. Even once you have found your eternal love, if lucky enough, the true test lies ahead and beyond. Amour is a beautifully directed film exploring the harsh realities of a love between two people who have the augury of death rather than life at their very doorstop.

Seeing out their pension years in Paris, octogenarians Georges and Anne lead a simple enough life that is based around their daily routines surrounding each other. That is until, somewhat unexpectedly, Anne has a stroke that leaves her in a wheelchair. As the illness progressively worsens, Georges becomes her nurse. Eventually, his beautiful, once vibrant, wife becomes paralysed and bed-ridden, unable to eat or attend bodily functions by herself. Struggling with the stress, Georges cares for his wife as best as he can, volunteering as much love for Anne now as he did all those decades ago when they first met.

Winner of the prestigious Palme d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, this film resonates on so many levels. It is a love story, but more essentially the themes centre around the certainties of life and ultimately death. Artistically shot, we are taken on a journey that reverts between the tender, painful care of the couple's latter moments and, with flashbacks, the energetic esprit of their youth.

Superbly acted by French stars Emmanuelle Riva and in particular Jean-Louis Trintignant, we are given a glimpse of how powerful cinema can be through sight rather than ear. In other words, the agonising and polarised distress of both the sick Anne and her husband Georges are poignantly picked up on by the smallest but most important shifts in facial expressions - and where no words need to be spoken.

With all that said, it is not perfect. At over two hours in length and with a significant amount of scenes left to the imagination, it is a tad laborious at times, while the presence of petulant daughter Eva seems misplaced. But that aside, Amour is a beautiful if sometimes harrowing account of a couple's undying, or in this case dying, love for one another.

- David Caulfield