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AMOUR is a devastating look at the world of aging and caring for someone you love who is critically ill. I was not prepared for bone chilling yet lyrical way that Director Michael Haneke told his story. An event, by the way, that happened in his own family.

Starring the French icon Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emanulle Riva, their performances sear the screen with beauty and tragedy. Riva, defying age and ageism, is nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress and although a long shot it would be quite a coup if she were to win.

The story is simple, but the undercurrents are not. Georges and Anne live in a lovely apartment in Paris. Both have been music teachers and one of Anne’s pupils has gone on to great success. The story opens with Georges and Anne attending one of his concerts and it is clear how much her pupil was influenced by her teaching and how much he loves and respects her.

At breakfast the next morning, Anne goes silent. She doesn’t respond to Georges as she sits in a catatonic state. Georges tries to get her attention and goes off to get help. Anne comes round, but doesn’t remember anything that took place. Anne needs to undergo surgery on a blocked carotid artery, but the surgery goes wrong, leaving her partially paralyzed and confined to a wheel chair.

Anne makes Georges promise not to send her back to the hospital or go into a nursing home. Georges tends to Anne’s every need, but she fails rapidly. She can no longer speak coherently and shouts “Hurt!” repetitively. Watching George try to care for Anne and witnessing her swift decline breaks one’s heart.

True love knows no bounds and is forged from the joy and hell that life bestows on us all. AMOUR is not a film for the faint of heart, but it is a love story that reminds us all of how important it is to have your chosen life’s companion by your side when life’s force begins to fade. AMOUR won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and is the Austrian entry for Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards and is nominated for four other Academy Awards. Do not miss seeing this glorious tribute to the enduring power of love.

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