On The Edge Films

Cinematic Thoughts for Cinematic Minds


2012/ Austria, France, Germany

Director: Michael Haneke

Starring: Jean- Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert, William Shimell

If one were to define love by current Hollywood standards it would be assumed that only young, beautiful people could ever fall in love and once they had, nothing bad could ever happen. In Michael Haneke’s ‘Amour’ we are presented with a pragmatic and truthful representation of what love can really mean when one half of the couple becomes a burden on the other. The film centres on Georges and Anne, a couple in their 80s who were both skilled musicians, and how their lives evolve as they come to terms with Anne’s paralysis.

Throughout ‘Amour’ there is a sense of intense isolation and claustrophobia, as the vast majority is set in Anne and Georges’ apartment over a time frame of several months, with only brief glimpses of the outside world through the apartment windows. Within this dimly lit space we see the harsh reality of how Anne tries to come to terms with what has happened to her and how Georges tries to help and support her as she slowly deteriorates; and the effect is profound, devastating and often challenging to watch.

There are difficult questions raised, about dignity, the value of life, how to treat the elderly and sick, and perhaps most importantly, is it worth carrying on; as Anne tells Georges that life is simply not worth it. There are no answers offered for these questions, because there is no chance for resolution, but through them we consider the nature of love and see how it develops as the person who loves and is loved changes.

In short, ‘Amour’ is nothing short of astonishing and will leave you haunted with its’ simple impression for a long time to come.


-Emma Yates


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