In keeping within its limited boundaries, in applying an unflinching style to an inevitable process, Amour has a certain perfection to it, but what Haneke expresses thereby — that culture is no protection from the final horror, that death be not proud — is so meager as to make it a single-minded, barren perfection. Haneke remains, by his rules, infallible. So what? A movie in which incident is as spare as it is in Amour can certainly be great; a movie in which ideas and feelings are so sparse cannot.

Written and directed by Michael Haneke. Starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert, and Alexandre Tharaud. Rated PG-13.

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