The Curt Critic featured in the Wisconsin State Journal

The Curt Critic in the news: This recent Wisconsin State Journal article is validation that Liz Zélandais' quest to see all 53 Oscar-nominated films for 2013 is a fascinating enterprise worthy of public interest, rather than merely nuts.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Amour - 2013 Oscar Nominee for Best 1) Picture, 2) Actress, 3) Directing, 4) Foreign Film (France), and 5) Original Screenplay

Agonizing and very French. But I repeat myself.

Contrary to the implication of the above statements, everything about this movie is good, if not great. Phenomenal acting. (Emmanuelle Riva, the oldest ever Oscar nominee for Best Actress, is riveting and, in my opinion, should win for that category.) The script is powerful. But Amour is a hard movie to watch. And, even if it were not subtitled, it has a  distinctly European feel that gives no candy coating of even the briefest comic relief.*

Georges and Anne Laurent are intelligent, highly cultured octogenarians, both enjoying their retirement from teaching music. When Anne suffers a stroke, her partial paralysis and deterioration cause their lives to spiral downward.

Part of the power and challenge of this movie is in the inevitability of aging and its effects. Amour takes off the gloves and makes us live paralysis, loss of independent function, diapers, dementia, and the demands of care-taking a beloved life partner with those disabilities. ("Vicarious" would be too detached a term.) It is also a treatise to devotion.

Amour is the first film since Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2000 to receive Oscar nominations in the categories of both Best Foreign Language Picture and Best Picture. Although the movie is in French and set in Paris, director Michael Haneke is Austrian; and it is submitted as an Austrian film.
*That is not to criticize—French film-makers specifically and Europeans in general seem to expect us viewers to be grown ups. I often go to the movies to be a kid again, and I think American movies in general cater to that mindset even in most dramas.

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