Sunday, February 10, 2013

Amour [2012]

MPAA (PG-13)  CNS/USCCB (L)  Roger Ebert (4 Stars)  Fr. Dennis (1 Star)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (K. Jensen) review
Roger Ebert's review

Amour (written and directed by Michael Haneke) is a generally well-written and well-acted French language (English-subtitled) film about an elderly couple Georges (played by Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne (played by Emmanuelle Riva) that stupidly chooses to "go controversial" in its last 5 minutes.

(Spoiler Alert I suppose): After presenting a lovely and gentle film about Georges taking care of his wife after she has a stroke and her health deteriorates quite rapidly afterward with all the attendant issues very poignantly presented -- Anne asking George promise that he won't institutionalize her in a nursing home; her adult daughter (played by Isabelle Tharaud), married and with her own life, proving perhaps not being as helpful as she could have been and perhaps not as appreciative of what her mother and Georges were going through; and finally the home care nurse (played by Carole Franck) again perhaps being not absolutely perfect in her care of Anne -- Georges decides after Anne's largely unconscious and no more than a week or two from death anyway to take a pillow and suffocate her and presumably kill himself afterwards.

Wow, but honestly why?  Viewers who do see the movie will see so clearly that the woman was so close to death anyway, why not just have let God take her rather than "playing God" instead?  And if he had come to the end of his rope in terms of his caring for her, his "betrayal" of her wishes to not be institutionalized for the last short days of her life would have certainly less a betrayal than having him kill her in her bed ("at home") instead.

And while the film certainly seeks to tug at emotions and justify Euthanasia: "Look at how much he loved her..." what of an alternate scenario in which the adult child of the elderly person would be pressing medical personnel "let their parent go" more quickly so as to perhaps receive a larger inheritance?

On my first ever pastoral call after being ordained a priest, I actually had to deal with an adult daughter who wanted to "pull the plug" on her not any where near approaching death mother (neither was a parishioner just a family that the hospital wanted a priest to talk to).  I told the daughter: "Look, you could probably pull the plug on your mother if you want.  But when she gets hungry, she'll just get up and _walk to the cafeteria_ to get a hamburger herself."   I honestly was stunned.  And while certainly I believe that a person has a right to decide to undertake "no extra-ordinary means" to remain alive and I do believe that a family has a right to decide that for someone after all honestly reasonable options have been exhausted (I've had cases like that too: After trying to resuscitate one's loved one for the seventh time after suffering a massive heart attack, it is probably the time to honestly weep and let go) actively seeking to kill someone because they appear to be inconvenient (or even for potentially financial gain) is clearly against Catholic Teaching and honestly ought to be obviously seen as an offense against common morality. 

Yet when we see films about Euthansia, we see only these kind of films presented ... "Oh, he loved her sooo much."  If he did, he would have respected her wishes until he could not take care of her and then have had her taken to a nursing home (and _visited her_) for her remaining days until she passed away herself.  And then finally, he would have asked God: "I'm still here, You must have a reason, what do You want of me now...?"

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1 comment:

  1. Well,Father, you've solved one issue for me. I definitely do not want to see this film! Thank you.