It’s the story of an elderly couple, Anne and Georges, who are retired music teachers. In the first scene, Anne has a ministroke while Georges watches. She stares off into space at the breakfast table and doesn’t respond when he touches her. The rest of the movie is her slow decline and him trying to take care of her, as she doesn’t want to go back into the hospital.
The brilliance of this movie is the way it captures the everyday, the significant details. They sit at a table eating and chatting, and everything they do and say is both so right for that moment, so exactly mundane and beautiful, but also ripe with larger significance.
For example, a pigeon gets into their beautiful apartment twice through an open window. An everyday sort of thing. But the symbol of the pigeon means so much more. It’s hope, it’s life, it’s escape, it’s love. The first time, Georges shoos it out the window. The second time he catches it by throwing a towel over it and then sits in the chair petting it.
And in it’s very quiet and subtle way, the movie reminds me of Million Dollar Baby, the Clint Eastwood-Hillary Swank boxing movie. There’s one scene in particular where Anne refuses to eat and drink and spits water out that’s like the Hillary Swank character in Million Dollar Baby, but also because they are both about the human spirit and about love, respect, and dignity.
What Amour does in the medium of film, I aspire to do in fiction: mold everyday lived experience to have such coherent resonance and emotional impact.