Love and death also play heavily into Amour, hitting Atlanta screens this week. Just don’t go in expecting comedy. Far, far from it.

Amour focuses on French couple Georges and Anne, both retired music teachers well into their eighties. They live simple, peaceful lives, until one day where Anne has an episode with her memory. This episode begins a slow, agonizing descent for Anne, as well as for Georges, who attempts to take care of her to the best of his ability.

Director Michael Haneke is most certainly not shy about exploring uncomfortable territory, but with his latest film, he does so in a way that’s more frightening than a horror picture. There’s no sentimentality about what goes on in Amour. It’s just a step-by-step walk into darkness. Haneke’s success lies in the subject matter. Not everyone will live long enough to die at an old age, of course, but after watching Amour, it makes one wonder if living a long life is worth it if it involves a gradual breaking down of the body and mind, as depicted here.

If this sounds like a negative review, it’s not. While I can’t say I have any desire to watch Amour again, it’s not because it’s a bad film. It’s because it’s so effective, and it’s so nerve-wracking, that I have a hard time imagining that I could make it through another screening. With that being said, it is absolutely something I would recommend watching, as long as audiences don’t expect to come out feeling enthused.

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