Amour probably won’t rate too highly on many people’s radars. It’s a little slow, the plot is a little controversial, but only if you have some knowledge of it, and it has no real pizazz to draw attention to itself. It doesn’t even draw you in terribly well, but nonetheless, I admire it deeply, and think it deserves more attention than it is likely to get.
As a film, it is strongest in what I think is one of the most important aspects of all films; it takes the transcendent, the metaphysical, the magic of life, and plonks it down into the stuff of life, the grit and grime of reality where it rubs up against a higher meaning, a sense of purpose.
We meet the protagonists as they attend a recital at a theatre on the Champs Elysée. The elderly couple speak to the pianist afterwards, and they are clearly on familiar terms. From here, they return home to what seems a humble but comfortable existence. The following day, the wife suffers a stroke, which paralyses her on her right side, and their world is slowly changed. In fact, the gradual decline of her condition sometimes lulls the audience into a false sense of security as the couple adapt and change to accommodate alterations. The change, however, doesn’t cease.
If ever there was a good reason to make a slow film, this is it. The gradation of the woman’s deteriorating condition is carefully crafted to draw your attention away from the inevitable. The couple simply carry on with life and take control of whatever they can take control of.
I really wish more films were like this. There is no reason to divorce the transcendent from the prosaic, and here where they coexist they say something that few other mediums could put so eloquently. If the opportunity arises, see this film.