Sunday, March 3, 2013

Amour (Rhoades)

“Amour” Looks at
Love Late in Life

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

During last week’s Academy Awards ceremony, host Seth (“Who is he again?”) MacFarlane made a tasteless joke about the difference in ages between 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis and 86-year-old Emmanuelle Riva.
But age is the point of Riva’s performance in “Amour,” the French-German-Austrian production that won this year’s Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
Directed by Michael Haneke, it tells about the love and tribulations between two retired piano teachers, a husband and wife who face an uncertain life as octogenarians.
Their life changes when the wife suffers a series of strokes, becoming paralyzed on the right side of her body, making her existence dependent on her husband and a series of unreliable caregivers.
The film starts with the ending -- but I’ll only tell you that her husband proves he would do anything for love.
Along with Emmanuelle Riva’s Oscar-nominated performance, we have Jean-Louis Trintignant as her devoted husband and Isabelle Huppert as their distant daughter.
Riva is celebrated for her 1959 appearance in “Hiroshima mon amour.” You’ll remember Trintignant as the man opposite Brigitte Bardot in 1956’s “And God Created Woman.” And Huppert is noted for “The Piano Teacher,” based on the Nobel Prize-winning book by Elfriede Jelinek.
Age? Emmanuelle Riva is the oldest nominee ever for the Best Actress in a Leading Role. With a distinguished career that spans more than half a century, she deserves some “Amour” from us.

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