Tragically beautiful and real, Amour is a profoundly honest depiction of how a stroke can affect both members of a marriage. Though a French film and in subtitles, one hardly needs the translation to follow the emotions—shame, embarrassment, frustration, loss, fear, and above all, love—that both parties go through throughout the movie.
The movie follows the progression of an elderly couple whose lives change when Anne, the wife, has a stroke that leaves half her body paralyzed. Upon returning home from the hospital, Anne asks her husband, Georges, to promise never to take her back to the hospital. The rest of the movie is a steady depiction of what their life is like after that. Other characters flow in and out of the story—neighbors, their daughter, a former student of Anne’s—but the focus always remains on the relationship between the couple. Though simple in its basic plot, it is this un-glamorized portrait of the love Anne and Georges share that makes its impact so deep.
In the name of full disclosure, I should probably admit that I have volunteered as a senior care provider since I was 9 years old, which undoubtedly contributed to the level that this movie affected me. Having seen the effects of strokes and having been in the position of the husband in this movie (though certainly not to the same extreme), I have personally witnessed and felt the sentiments portrayed. Whether a care giver yourself or not though, this story can strike a chord in anyone who has witnessed a loved one deteriorate.
It is no surprise that this movie was nominated for the 2012 Best Picture and won in the Best Foreign Film category. Amour is definitely more artsy than the average Blockbuster, so if you are not interested in a slower paced flick that’s low on action—and dialog for that matter—then this is probably not the film for you. For those who appreciate more nuanced, heartfelt films though, this is a must see. If you enjoy this film, you may also enjoy Life is Beautiful, Chocolat, or I’ve Loved You So Long.