REVIEW: Amour Fou

15 06 2015

Amour FouIt might seem like I cry “Woody Allen” every time a movie treads into nihilistic black comedy or pure defeatism, but Jessica Hausner’s “Amour Fou” really does fit the bill!  Some of the dialogue seems like it could be copied and pasted directly from “Magic in the Moonlight.”  (Well, technically it should be the other way around since “Amour Fou” premiered first.)

In early 1800s Berlin, depressed poet Heinrich von Kleist (Christian Friedel) seeks a partner in suicide to escape the meaninglessness of existence.  For his prime target, Heinrich sets his sights on Henriette Vogel (Birte Schnöink), who initially rebuffs his offer but then rethinks it after coming down with an unexplained medical condition.  For those expecting a thorough rumination on life and death, look elsewhere.

Hausner seems far more interested in examining the repressive elements of the Prussian society, cleverly reflected in the constrictive set design, than in examining human emotion.  As a result, “Amour Fou” begins to feels repressive itself instead of enlightening or enriching.  I’m an avowed opponent of period films in general, and if I were to watch one, I’d much rather take a forced happy ending than this morose mess that lacks the potency to make me legitimately depressed.  C+2stars

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