Amour (the movie) is Patient, Amour (love) is Honest
Life will suddenly confront you: “Look at me, do you still want me–even if I am like this?” Michael Haneke, the Austrian director of “Amour,” a French film, suggests that when life poses such a question, we answer “Yes, I still want you.” He also suggests that Love is capable of confronting us: “Look at me, will you give up everything for me?” and that we might answer “Yes, because there’s nothing without you.”
His movie has a pace to match the deliberate movements of the elderly subjects he follows; this is not an action film. Yet it is the most honest film you will see–perhaps for the rest of your life.
It’s a film about an elderly couple who were connoisseurs and teachers of music. One of them suffers a physical setback. Their lives change and life confronts them. They face the confrontations and play the notes on the page. They sacrifice all but the essential element, the amour.
The acting is superb, but the action, most of which takes place in a Paris apartment, is stark, bare and somber. Haneke directs in such a way that the most potent lines remain unspoken. And a hauntingly tender melody plays somewhere behind or beneath the many soundless scenes: it is a song played on the strings that stretch between hearts, a song of notes sounded as passions and cares swirl across the reeds of the soul.
The film takes the receptive and available viewers-as-instruments, and proceeds to tune, one at a time, the keys of their intimacy and sensibility such that those instruments might at least produce the highest quality of music that might one day be played on them.
I walked out of the movie in a distracted state, wary of Life, in awe of Love.