Our penultimate Best Picture nominee is the French language movie Amour. Directed and written by Michael Haneke, it is nominated for five Academy Awards.
The story follows an elderly couple living in Paris, Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) and her husband Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant), both retired octogenarians. They appear to have a very loving relationship, until one morning at breakfast Anne falls into a trance like state, before snapping out of it. Although there is a worry Anne is going mad, it turns out to be a blocked carotid artery, for which surgery is required. The surgery goes wrong and leaves Anne paralyzed down the right side of her body, leaving Georges to become her primary carer.
The story goes on to show the hardship of caring for a spouse, as Anne slowly and painfully fades away, unable to speak, wash or move around unaided. Georges struggles and one morning smothers his beloved with a bed pillow.
This is an incredibly hard movie to watch, not only due to its French language, but also because the subject matter is something that I feel everyone can identify with, we all worry about what happens when we get old and this puts those worries into pictures. The portrayal of a strong woman fading away is quite emotional, and played extremely well by Riva, earning her a well deserved nomination for Best Actress, at the record breaking age of 85.
This movie has a very realistic feel to it, as if the camera's are just following a real life situation as it happens, its not sensationalized, or over done, the reality of it just makes you feel for the characters, and the actors, who are both elderly and must have found the movie quite hard to make,
The direction is superbly done, the realism is not accidental and Haneke really does it very well. The faults with this movie are small, but are totally overlooked as this story progresses. I don't usually enjoy foreign language movies, but this one is done to such a high quality that would go back and watch it again.