A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Amour is an acclaimed but emotionally harrowing movie -- in French with English subtitles -- about how an elderly couple deals with a sharp decline in health. The title translates to "love," though this title can be taken both literally and ironically. There's one scene of shocking, life-changing violence, as well as some arguing (the argument contains a use of the word "f--k") and a nightmare sequence. There's a story about adultery, and an old woman is glimpsed naked while bathing. Thanks to many awards and strong critical reception, movie nuts will be interested in seeing what this is all about, but despite a PG-13 rating, Amour's mature subject matter is best for older teens and adults.
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What's the story?
Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) and Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) are a loving husband and wife, both in their eighties and both retired music teachers. One night, they go to a concert to see one of their most successful students. The next morning, Anne freezes up in the middle of a conversation. After a trip to the hospital, it's revealed that she has suffered a stroke and is now paralyzed on one side. Georges opts to keep her at home and hires nurses to help care for her. As Anne's condition worsens and she's no longer able to communicate, the situation becomes more and more unbearable for George and their grown daughter, Eva (Isabelle Huppert). Finally George is faced with a tough decision and a hard question: How much does he truly love Anne?
Is it any good?
This movie has complex moral layers that force viewers to consider very tough questions. Acclaimed German-born director Michael Haneke makes movies like a kid with a magnifying glass, tormenting ants; on the one hand, he's not safe, but on the other, he has a kind of disdain toward his viewers. His films are like a challenge to see how strong a viewer's constitution is. There's a certain chilliness in the air, and it often seems as if Haneke doesn't care about his characters as more than just moral experiments. (The title, AMOUR, which translates to "love," can be seen as both literal and ironic.)
As a result, some viewers may come away from the movie with their heads full of thoughts but their hearts largely untouched. Yet Amour is an exceedingly well-made movie, with excellent acting, and carefully chosen shots that emphasize the drama. Additionally, it's a rarity to see movies about older folks, and in that, the performances by these veteran actors are exemplary.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Amour's violent turning point. What brought about this violence? Was it done through love or hate? Was it justified?
Why is the movie called "love"? What are some examples of love in the movie?
Why is it so difficult to tell or listen to stories about older people getting sick?
- In theaters: December 19, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: August 20, 2013
- Cast: Emmanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Louis Trintignant
- Director: Michael Haneke
- Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 127 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: mature thematic material including a disturbing act, and for brief language
- Awards/Honors: Academy Award, Golden Globe
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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