An unflinching depiction of the agony faced by an octogenarian couple, Amour is one of the most compassionate films about ageing ever made. Austrian auteur Michael Haneke, whose earlier films include The Piano Teacher and Hidden, chronicles the tale of a retired music teacher (Riva) who’s partly paralysed after a stroke. As her deterioration continues, her stoic husband (Trintignant) struggles to cope with the situation.
Without a trace of sentimentality, Haneke details the sacrifices they make for each other leading up to one final anguished decision which is handled with great tact. Save for an early scene at a piano recital, the film takes place within the couple’s Parisian apartment.
The unadorned visual style and deliberate pacing accentuate the mounting dread.
French cinema legends Emmanuelle Riva (Hiroshima Mon Amour) and Jean-Louis Trintignant (A Man and a Woman) -- both now in their eighties – deliver nuanced performances.
Simply put, Amour (accorded a belated and limited release only) is unmissable.