(Depressing, slow, end-of-life tale)
I guess we missed something here that Oscar voters got. We found “Amour,” Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Language film, to be downright depressing, excruciatingly slow and at times rather cold. And then there’s the ending.
Joyce spent her working life as a gerontology nurse, so she is quite familiar with caring for people in their final days. What has been praised as a caring love story did not come across with the emotional impact we both expected.
The subtitles distract from the verbal emotion, and the stoic, emotionless expressions of Jean-Louis Trintignant did not pull us into the movie. Add to that the lengthy camera shots of almost every scene, and we found the movie to lose its effectiveness.
The movie opens with Anne’s body laid out on her bed, then shifting to the former music teachers attending a concert given by a former student.
The aging couple returns to their comfortable apartment, and all seems well until they are having breakfast the following morning and Anne blanks out, staring into space and not recalling the incident.
Anne has had a stroke, which paralyses the right side of her body. She returns home from the hospital in a state of depression, with Georges assuming the role of caregiver. Emmanuelle Rivera gives a heartbreaking performance as Anne, terminally ill and slipping fast.
Georges dedicates his life to her care, refusing to discuss alternatives with his daughter, who he treats with a counter-productive coldness.
The movie plods along ever so slowly for over two hours, with the camera pausing on many mundane scenes, such as a housekeeper vacuuming, a guest waiting for Georges to return, Georges washing dishes, and Georges walking from room to room.
And then there is the shocking ending, followed by a few quick, confusing scenes before the screen goes black and you try to figure it all out.
“Amour” does raise the issue of caring for loved ones in the final days of their lives. Most of us have been there or know someone who has. For some, the movie may hit a little too close to home and may be difficult to watch.
Rated PG-13. It may be difficult for children to watch and does have brief profanity and a few disturbing scenes.