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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Amour - Review (2012)

The opening scene says it all - there is no happy ending.  From there we taken back to better times with Anna and George returning home from a show and saying goodnight.  The last truly good night of their lives together. The next day at breakfast Anna sits down and mid-conversation goes quiet for an extended period of time, then the lights go back on she is completely normal.  An appointment with the doctor reveals she is not normal and the long steady road of declining health is right in front of them.

Maybe I am not the right person to review this film.  Perhaps it all just hits too close to home for me to feel good about telling anyone to see this film.  It is a technically sound film, with a script and performances worthy of recognition, but watching the final days of a long loving relationship is just not my idea of fun.

I have just too recently had to bare witness to much of what took place on screen - the conversations, the looks, the physical decline are all things that have been part of my life.  For the first time, I am not sure what to say.  This film felt like a reminder telling me, "hey buddy, no matter how good life is, it ends and it often ain't pretty."

The film is beautifully acted, directed and shot, everything comes across as completely natural - never do you feel like you are watching a movie, more like the inside look at the intimate and inevitable notion of one's death.  The director Michael Haneke does not try to play your emotions like a fiddle through music and sappy dialogue meant to bring about water works (though they may occur.)

If I took anything away from this film besides a two hour reminder of less pleasant days in my life, it would be that I need continue to embrace everyday of life and make the most of it.  The simple conversations, going for a walk, sharing breakfast and talking about the latest headline are mundane parts of the day until one day you can't share them with the one you love.  Sounds hokey, but it is true.  That is what is so amazing about film, it does not need to be all car chases and explosions, it does not have to be happy endings you can see miles away, it can be much more. 

Just over the course of writing this review I have begun to work out my thoughts and from my first keystroke until now my opinion of the film has improved.  I have been able to set aside (somewhat) the personal connections and issues came across while watching and am more able to see through death there is a celebration of life.

Still, can I recommend this for you to watch?  Not really.  If I do you will come back and slap me in the face or worse - this is not an easy film to watch.  So, no matter what I rate it, remember this is something you will need to come to terms with seeing.  This is not the sequel to a blockbuster, this is the last few pages of the novel of life.

8.0 out of 10

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