The title is french for love. The movie itself, indisputably the year's best foreign-language film and an Oscar front-runner, defines what love is. And it does it the hard way. No sex, drugs or rock & roll. Just two people offering each other total commitment. Did I mention both are in their eighties? Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) are retired music teachers living comfortably in Paris, with occasional visits from their daughter (Isabelle Huppert). Then Anne suffers two strokes. Riva, her face a study of age in agony, is magnificent. Austrian writer-director Michael Haneke achieves levels of intimacy previously unknown in his work. What happens next in his unique and unforgettable film must be left for you to discover. These two glam stars of French cinema – Riva in 1959's Hiroshima Mon Amour and Trintignant in 1966's A Man and a Woman – give performances of breathtaking power and beauty. Prepare for an emotional wipeout.
Darius Khondji/Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics