Amour is the ultimate downer, yes, there are no two ways around that. Haneke's film does not mince words, and its presentation is entirely straightforward: this is a story of love and death, of what love looks like when carried through to death. The set-up is one that filled me with dread from the outset, and if you can make it through the film without wanting to put an end to the future or reminiscing about lost relatives, you may want to find a therapist as soon as possible. In the film, Haneke boxes us into a luxe Parisian apartment and confines us there. We open confronted with the fact of impending decay, aware that this is what will happen, and from there are taken through the sad progression of events leading to the macabre ritual of the opening scene. This small world is inhabited by Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) and Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant), an elderly couple surrounded by the totems of a life lived together. During breakfast one morning Anne freezes, completely unresponsive, only to snap back torturous minutes later with no memory of the incident. It's the first ring in an inevitable downward spiral; a process so deeply affecting because it's so familiar. Over the course of the film we will watch as Georges struggles to take care of Anne, as Anne becomes imprisoned by her body, and as their daughter (Isabelle Huppert) flails helplessly at the periphery, not capable of understanding just what's happening in her parents' house. The horror of Amour is that it is what happens, that it happens to everyone. The beauty of it is in the presentation.
*Note: consider that I don't usually cry in movies, and was recently called heartless for rolling my eyes about Les Mis. Prepare to bawl.
**Additional note: no joke, there were only one or two 'groups' of people in the screening. Everyone else in the theater came alone. Why? Because you absolutely will not want to talk to people after this ends. Also, you are probably going to be doing some struggling.