Movie Review Courtesy: Bipasha Sharma
Movie Available on Amazon Prime
Trigger Warning: Mention of Euthanasia
The French title ‘Amour’, meaning ‘Love’, is an apt description of the love and subtle romance which is portrayed in the movie. The film, directed by Michael Haneke, features an elderly couple who are suddenly faced with the challenge of a diagnosis of Stroke. Anne and George are shown sitting on a breakfast table when suddenly Anne’s body freezes, George, not being able to comprehend the situation, helplessly tries to find a solution when she casually returns to normal, being unaware of the entire episode. What starts with a momentary episode, progressively starts becoming worse.
As we move forward into the movie, we are slowly introduced to the physical, psychological and social challenges of caregiving that the aged couple has to deal with post the diagnosis. The wife decides immediately after the diagnosis that she will never return to the hospital and makes sure George promises to follow her wishes. Despite suffering from aches and infirmities of old age, George bravely neglects his own discomfort to take care of the well-being of his wife.
“It is touching all that you do to make it bearable … but I do not want to go on. For MY sake, not for yours!”
Later, Anne confesses that she wants to die and slowly becomes non-compliant. Anne’s desires pose a dilemma for George. He wants her to stay alive so that he can be with the person whom he has loved for more than half a century, but Anne doesn’t wish for the same.
The terrifying ending proves to pierce the hearts of the audience with the elderly husband killing his own wife in an attempt to ease her pain. What is seen to be an act of crime, is also equally an important segment to stop and introspect about the lives of elderly family caregivers. It begs us to wonder about the pain of the caregiver and care receiver. The movie makes one believe that hope, empathy, love and togetherness are the best virtues we can have as a society. Even though this might be an extreme version of the lives of patients, but it still forces us to question the support systems built around the help of caregivers, e.g., the training of home care assistants, empathetic guidance provided by the medical staff, emotional support from family, along with other psychological challenges that the elderly might have to go through. We need to skill ourselves to be able to provide a comforting and empathetic environment and yield hope in others and ourselves.