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Ten Word or Less Review:  How You’re Going To Die: The Movie

Amour can claim the dubious distinction of being the worst possible movie to ever watch with a grandparent or elderly person.  French director Michael Haneke got it in his noggin to make a movie which vividly portrays the infirmities and humiliations which come with post stroke old age.  And if that doesn’t sound like riveting cinematic potential to you don’t worry, it’s not.  I do have respect for Haneke and the brutal honesty he lays out.  It’s fine and admirable to get away from the Hollywood concept of old age.  In the past old age in movies has involved such charming scenarios as Jessica Tandy telling Morgan Freeman to drive slow, Jack Lemmon fighting with Walter Mattheau or going into space with Wilford Brimley.  But regardless, Amour isn’t much more than spending two hours watching an old french lady die.  Slowly.  Very, very slowly.

Jean Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva play the loving old couple on which Haneke focuses his long takes and slow pacing.  Haneke doesn’t believe in camera movement.  Michael Bay would explode from anxiety watching this.  We endure Riva’s character fade away into a series of humiliating conditions and erratic behaviors as her husband watches and cares for the love of his life become catatonic and hopeless.  It’s unflinching cinema to be sure but it also feels thoroughly unnecessary, drawn out and relentlessly bleak.  It’s like some kind of snuff movie for the art house crowd.  You can appreciate the stellar performances at work from two senior statesmen of the French cinema but regardless of quality you’ll never want to watch a frame of this movie ever again when it’s over.

If you want to experience the sensation of being old and slipping away to disease, Amour is all that and a bag of chips.  It’s got strokes, bed wetting, adult diapers, night terrors, concerned but powerless kids, mean eldercare workers, enough glumness for a dozen other movies and one very important pillow.  In short, of all the movies nominated for best picture, it’s the one least likely to be seen by anyone.  But don’t worry, if you decide to skip Amour, like I know you will, chances are you or someone you know will get to live it.  Don’t we all have something to look forward to?  Remember to bring a pillow.  Cheers.



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