French film-maker Michael Haneke has made another fiercely mesmerising tale to put alongside Cache and The White Ribbon. It was a critical triumph at this year's Cannes film festival, despite Haneke tackling probably the hardest topic to handle in cinema.
It tells the story of how one day a couple's bond of love is severely tested. Anne has a stroke and, suddenly half-paralysed, she ends up in a wheelchair. From then on, she descends into physical and eventually mental debilitation.
The inevitable degeneration of Anne's illness is painful to watch for her husband George who, though unconditionally loving his wife, is completely left on his own by family and society.
Impeccably written, the film's an intensely moving and unforgettable study of old age, illness and love in which the couple share the sorrows and pleasures of daily life.
Haneke's brilliance is in sustaining a compassionate and emphathic approach which avoids false moralising and sentimentality.
This homage to love and life is graced by the presence of those two supremely talented French actors Emanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant who imbue it with elegance and beauty.
Too often films attempt to conquer the public by rehashing stories of spineless escapism.
Amour is a powerful riposte. Its courageous and philosophical take on life is absolutely bedded in reality.