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Review: ‘Amour’

A Horror Love Story

Above: Emmanuelle Riva stars as Anne and received an Oscar nomination for her performance in "Amour."

Aired 1/11/13 on KPBS News.

The foreign film "Amour" (opening January 11 at Landmark's La Jolla Village Theaters) racked up a surprising and well deserved 5 Oscar nominations yesterday.

The foreign film "Amour" (opening January 11 at Landmark's La Jolla Village Theaters) racked up a surprising and well deserved 5 Oscar nominations yesterday.

Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) are an elderly couple in their eighties and seem to be enjoying an active retirement. But one morning Anne suddenly freezes in the midst of her morning rituals. Georges tries to snap her out of her catatonic state and when she finally responds, she has no memory of what just happened. Anne suffers a stroke and after unsuccessful surgery she requests that she not be taken back to the hospital. Her husband agrees. Then he bluntly tells his daughter that from here things will only get worse. And they do.

In one respect, this is a film about the powerful and loving bond between a married couple. In that sense, "Amour" is the most tender and compassionate film from the usually cold-blooded Michael Haneke. But as Anne's state grows worse, the film becomes a horror tale more in line with Haneke's bleak, unflinching dramas ("Funny Games," "The White Ribbon"). The film shows in brutal terms how painful it is to see someone you love deteriorate both physically and mentally before your eyes and you're powerless to do anything.

Emmanuelle Riva received a best actress nomination as Anne but it's really Jean-Louis Trintignant's performance as Georges that drives the film and gives it an agonizing sense of grace and devotion.

"Amour" is rated PG-13 for mature thematic material including a disturbing act, and for brief language. It is in French with English subtitles.

Companion viewing: "My Life Without Me," "A Simple Life," "Away From Her," "Where's Poppa?"

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