Entertainment Movies

Entertainment Entertainment Movies

'Amour' review: Bien or tres bien?

*** (out of four)

Theoretically all movies are subjective, but I suspect feelings about Cannes' top prizewinner “Amour” will be a particular matter of taste.

No doubt, it's an intimate tale of devotion from Michael Haneke (“Funny Games,” “Cache”), a filmmaker known for patience but not edge-less restraint. Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and his wife, Anne (Emmanuelle Riva), both retired music teachers in their 80s, live a comfortable life in Paris. Then all of a sudden, like the attempted burglary on their apartment, Anne's mind is invaded. She seems to black out, then snap out of it. Soon, after his wife officially has had a stroke and an operation has failed, Georges begins transitioning, with hired help, into continuous care of a woman who is paralyzed on her right side and frequently cannot speak coherently.

The performances—including Isabelle Huppert as Georges’ and Anne’s daughter, who claims hearing them making love when she was a kid was reassuring—are nothing short of heartbreaking. Riva very much deserves her Best Actress Oscar nod.

“Amour” often looks and hurts like seeing real lives in real time. Is that enough? Honesty gradually becomes simplicity as the film's reality outweighs its insight. Haneke refuses to look away from the truth and indignities of aging but doesn't quite uncover new ground. It's as agonizing as but less rewarding than “Away From Her.”

He does capture a husband up for it all, be it feeding or diaper-changing, doing his best to suppress frustration and fear. The most chilling question of this slow drama might be whether, faced with the end, two people who have given their lives to each other ultimately act in the interest of themselves or their better halves.
 

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

 

Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page.

 

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Bold predictions for Lolla 2015

    Bold predictions for Lolla 2015

    The Lolla schedule is sort of like the NCAA tournament: there are millions of possible combinations, and it’s anyone’s guess what the winning picks will be. With that in mind, we make some bold predictions about how this year’s fest (returning to Grant Park Fri.-Sun.) will turn out. Breakout artist...

  • 2010 killing of Chicago cop detailed at trial; man claims self-defense

    2010 killing of Chicago cop detailed at trial; man claims self-defense

    The man on trial in the killing of Chicago police Officer Thor Soderberg hated police and surprised the officer as he changed out of his uniform at shift end and placed his duty belt down, a Cook County prosecutor alleged Monday.

  • Aldermen to hold hearing on untested rape kits

    Aldermen to hold hearing on untested rape kits

    Chicago aldermen on Monday called on police officials to provide information on how quickly rape kits are being tested by the state crime lab, part of a largely symbolic effort to determine whether a large backlog is hampering work to apprehend rapists.

  • Alderman's 'Chi-raq' criticism falls flat

    Alderman's 'Chi-raq' criticism falls flat

    A South Side alderman's effort to tweak filmmaker Spike Lee for using "Chi-raq" as the title for a movie about Chicago violence fell flat Monday with his colleagues.

  • ComEd to hold energy fairs to help low-income customers

    ComEd to hold energy fairs to help low-income customers

    Commonwealth Edison will hold energy fairs at satellite locations across the region Monday in order to get money to thousands of people struggling to pay their electricity bills in northern Illinois.

  • PAWS Chicago "Muttshots!"

    PAWS Chicago "Muttshots!"

    These adorable pups are on the loose looking for a place to call home. They have a warrant out for their arrest. Their crime? Being irresistibly cute and cuddly. If you're interested in adopting any of these dogs, please visit www.pawschicago.org for more information.

Comments
Loading

76°