Amour (2012)

To begin this review, I would like to start by saying that I have never fully enjoyed any of Haneke’s previous works until Amour. Stylistically, Haneke’s work has always been tedious and testing, leaving me on a sour note.  At the same time, while I may disagree with his preferred route in telling a story, I have never doubted his amazing ability to run with an amazing idea. With film’s like The White Ribbon (2009), and the remake of his own Funny Games (2007), Haneke has undoubtedly proven his incredibly versatility, while at the same time keeping a common thread in all of his films. With Amour Haneke uses “tedious” in a painfully drawn out sense of the word, but due to the subject matter, it works. Brilliantly, Haneke forces his audience to feel the slow, drawn-out, pain that the characters in the film are feeling. Prepared for a “Haneke-esque” ambiguous ending scene, I was somewhat shocked by the outcome of the film, and could not help but reference John Steinbeck’s Of Mice in Men, during my analysis of this film. Although through further research I have not found any implications that there is a connection between the two (there probably is not), still I felt a strong “George and Lennie” presence in the film. Still, the film’s end leaves some details to the imagination, for the first time, leaving me content with what I had watched. While some parts of this film I never explained, I applaud Haneke’s use of silence to create a vital tension in the film. With the introduction of the character Eva (daughter of the two main characters), one can definitely sense a tension between the family (a tension that is never fully described). Not only do I applaud Haneke’s direction in Amore, but the acting is equally commendable. Seeing Anne’s diminishing state is very unsettling, and the struggle between Anne and her husband is at times agonizingly painful. This connection between character and audience is so strong it seems, that whenever the character is in pain, we ourselves feel pain too. Most interesting, is the concert sequence that takes place within the first ten minutes of the film. In a packed audience of over a hundred, one can spot out the two main characters, hidden amongst the other audience members. Disconcertingly, while the audience looks off somewhere to the left (presumably where the performance is taking place), the two main characters stare directly into the camera, “breaking the fourth wall,” and immediately making a connection with the audience. In the end, Amour is a film that although painful to watch at times, is ultimately about love (as the title suggests). The deepest love between two characters. Although the film was not in my opinion, “groundbreaking” enough to make me go back and rewatch all of Haneke’s films, I can say that Amour was definitely a suprise; a truly realistic struggle in life and death.


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