BY MICHAEL SMITH World Scene Writer
Thursday, February 21, 2013
2/21/13 at 4:08 AM
Rating: (on a scale of zero to four stars)
Rarely is a film so honest and authentic and uncompromising in its depiction of life's most fragile moments, but "Amour" truly is love in all its many forms.
When a husband looks into the vacant eyes of his wife, whose stroke has left her unreachable in the way that a pair of people in their 80s have grown accustomed, this is love in the face of the inevitable.
"For better" has defined their marriage; "for worse" has now arrived. The "in sickness" portion of their relationship will dominate their remaining days together, which are now numbered.
"Amour" won the Palme d'Or, which is the grand prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and it is the only best-picture nominee at next week's Academy Awards to yet show in Tulsa, with four other nominations: best actress, director, original screenplay and foreign-language film.
The picture is both gut-wrenching and richly rewarding. It will break your heart, and it will make you realize the depth of commitment that is formed over six decades together.
It can have the detached feel of a documentary, and it can be deeply soulful in detailing human connections.
As we meet Anne and Georges, retired music teachers living in a spacious apartment in Paris, it is clear their marriage is one of closeness, mutual respect and a shared love of culture as they return from a piano concert.
And then everything changes. Director Michael Haneke (the Austrian provocateur of "Cache") shows the couple speaking in an opening scene about burglaries in their apartment building, but it is something more precious than any material item that is about to be stolen from them.
Emmanuelle Riva stars in "Amour." Her depiction of a woman suffering a stroke earned her an Academy Awards nomination for best actress. Sony Pictures Classics/Associated Press