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A Sociological Analysis of the Film “Amour”


Task: How does the film "Amour" reflect key theoretical perspectives in the sociology of health and illness, and what academic evidence can be gathered from the movie to support sociological investigations?



The essay will reflect on the film “Amour” directed by Micheal Haneke based on Neorealism. The film was nominated for The Best Foreign Language Film Awarded in 2012 in OSCAR. There are two characters George and Anna, a couple who are in their 80s drawing the attention of the audience by reflecting on self-possession, inner peace and earning the right to be together. The film was mostly spreading the message of Love, Death and Truth. The movie has captured various aspects of the society and the mentality of the characters, Altruistic Liberal Humanist Agenda, The Pegion, and George’s Killing his Wife are some of the eye-catching moments in the film which depict every phase in their life that they pass with strong bond towards each other. The essay will cover the main theoretical perspectives of the sociology of health and illness and some theories and academic evidence of the sociological analysis of society through the film.

1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key theoretical perspectives of the sociology of health and illness using evidence from The Film Amour.

The Theoretical perspective demonstrates a set of assumptions and “Constructive Alternativism”. Theoretical Perspective is the lens through which we see and or distort our focus. The Theoretical Perspective is the assumption from the social system where a family exist, their culture, social status and their roles in real life. Theoretical perspectives are important from the research point of view. Sociologists used various Theoretical Perspectives to simultaneously frame the research and evidence-based questions to design and conduct and also to analyse the overall result. There are various aspects of the Theoretical Perspectives in Sociology and some are:


In this theoretical perspective phase, there is a division between seeing society with Macro and Micro versions and approaches to seeing society. The Macro version is the big picture of the social structure, trend and pattern and the Micro version focuses on the niceties of an individual experience in everyday life (Scarpellini., 2022). These factors are totally complementary and mutually dependent. The film is closely correlated with the French New Wave. The fragmented love story of the characters Goeroge and Anna depicts George’s protective and caregiving attitude whereas Anna’s cruel decline. The Masochistic choices made by Geroge represent the non-consensual declination of life as Ethuanasia. The film also portrayed Polygamy as Geroge’s daughter cheated by her husband. AMOUR raises cultural risks in the Western World as medical resources are dispensed to older patients more generously than young ones. As portraying the micro version of the story, the caregiving attitude of George towards Anna, at the age of 80, the circumstances shown in Amour are highly unusual in today’s world. The educated couple has never received any caregiving advice and they always stood by each other in eating properly, getting out and enjoying the social life.

The Functionalist Perspectives

The Functionalist Theory represents society’s complex system that cooperates to achieve the complex and shared objectives in society. It depicts how the characters perform or show themselves in social circumstances. Haneke’s functionalist perspectives from the scene of the Piegon and George’s killing of Anne depict functionalist perspectives at the macro-theoretical level. The scene of the pigeon tempted the audience by illustrating that the bird in Goerge’s hand is two in the bush. This correlates with the German version of the proverb, “Sparrow in the hand is better than a dove on the roof” (County., 2022). George was suffering and constituted himself between his wife and Utopia. In the embodiment of tyrannical modernity, the harmonious relationship ended with Geroge killing his wife to release her from suffering and ending up in the reality of enfeeblement, which ended up in the dangerous realm of kitsch. Eva’s father Goeroge assumes a different function, as Annas’s illness makes George’s mentality weak and the artistic mentality as a musician ends up in mimetic principles of self-contradiction. George’s flipping and character switch personifies rejection of art’s consoling function and turns into personal reverie. The Utopian potential in George foregrounds alliteration between his wife and the pastoral. The Piegon role signifies the role of fantasy which indicates George’s freedom by releasing themselves from the Claustrophobic situation.

The Interactionist Perspective

It is considered a theoretical approach developed by American Sociologist George Herbert Mead, to understand the process of social interactions. “Amour” means “Infinite Love”. The French Film speciality carries with the Candle-light dinner, passionate honeymoon and happily ever after. But in this movie, the Octogenarian couple not only went through the sensation of love but is also seen as melancholic, ruminative and nodding their hands till the last as the significance of love. It also represents the various symbols and coherent selves around us that we maintain through the social interactions we create and our understanding towards society. In this movie, the audience has evident the magic of realism, when the deceased lovers reappear at the end of the movie and live as family ghosts and dance together. Placing fantasy with the proper realism is an art (Azkarai, Oliver and Berrio., 2022). The cinematic representation of the pain, death and despair is represented to the spectators by Anna’s funeral. The painful drama about the end of life represents the rituals of society. The physical torture Riva suffered from her nurse ultimately led to suffocation and Anna wanted to end her life. The Funeral scene of Anna in a Black dress and flowers represents the illusory freedom of the couple from mental and physical pain and the paralysed situation.

The Conflict Perspective

Conflict arises with inequality in society, which fosters change. The Conflict Theory has emerged from Karl Marx's Theory of Conflict, where the resources, status and power are unevenly distributed. The conflict in the movie can be seen with the anxiety, resoluteness and solitude. The Amour or the love is interrogated in this movie's anti-anthropocentric impulses. The conflict depicted Lov as Claustrophobic. Anna’s refusal to get medical help, put her mental and physical well-being at stake (Pietraszewski., 2022). Rejecting offers to take help from her daughter Eva, better educated always tries to persuade help in the disabled and paralysed condition when it is still possible to go out in wheelchairs. Amour's film also represents the cultural risks in the Western world, as the medical resources were withheld for the elderly patients and much money was dispensed to the young. Money is not an object for the couple, but the contemporary societal conditions in post-World War II led seriously ill people into the “Morbid Phase”. The main conflict in the movie has been seen with George’s mindset. His protracted caregiving nature turned into providing her relief with a painful ending. But still, the murder-suicide scene also creates conflict among the viewers as it justifies euthanasia. The film is highly acclaimed by critics, as suicide and murder are ill-examined in the situation. As it illustrated self-harm and a reflection of a criminal mindset.

Relevance to the Film:

The obstacles of aging, the dynamics of caring, and the effects of solitude on the elderly are just a few of the social issues examined in Michael Haneke's "Amour" (2012). Anne and Georges, an old couple, are the film's primary protagonists. Their love is put to the test as Anne's health declines. As Georges becomes Anne's principal caregiver, the story shows the physical and mental demands of caring. Scenes show how she loses her freedom, how frustrating medical procedures are, and how their relationship's power balance changes over time. Anne's words, "I don't want to cause you any more problems," emphasize the difficulty of caring for someone. The notion of isolation is also present in the film since the couple has nowhere to go except their apartment. This loneliness mirrors the larger social problem of disregarding the elderly. Sociological ideas on family dynamics, aging, and the difficulties experienced by the elderly and their caretakers in the modern day are reflected in "Amour's" depiction of the ageing process and its effect on relationships.

Evidence from the Film

Several strong instances from "Amour" corroborate the aforementioned social viewpoints. In one moment, Anne's physical degeneration due to her illness is seen clearly as she has a stroke. Reflecting the stress on the healthcare system, the medical procedures and conversations with physicians illustrate the difficulties of age and disease. Georges' job as a caretaker reveals the power dynamics at play in their relationship. As he tries to provide for Anne, clean her up, and assist her with her daily responsibilities, he shows signs of mental and physical strain. Anne's line, "I can't feel my body," is illustrative of the mental anguish and the loss of autonomy that many seniors face.

The couple's increasing restriction to their flat is emblematic of the growing isolation they are experiencing. The societal problem of elderly loneliness in the contemporary world is reflected in the film's realistic depiction of their world shrinking to the confines of their house. These scenes from the film serve as a powerful and realistic investigation of the film's social themes of aging, caring, and loneliness.

2. Demonstrate the following skills and abilities: acquire, apply, and evaluate a range of academic evidence relevant to a sociological investigation of aspects of health and illness.

The Comprehensive Life Skill Framework by UNICEF is a Right-based and various life-cycle approach that helps a person in empowerment. An investigation of the report stated that more than 1.2 billion adolescents in the world between the age group of 10-19 are entrenched in a life cycle deep in poverty and inequity (D’Angelo, Marcus and Ngabonzima., 2022). Psychosocial competencies like resilience and self-confidence are some of the life skills that help an individual move out from the vulnerable societal environment and avoid risk-taking behaviours. The life skills set by UNICEF are the socio-emotional competencies that enable an individual to exercise social rights, make informed decisions to lead a healthy and productive life and eventually become an agent of change.

Critical Thinking/Decision-Making Skills.

To understand the various aspects of health and illness it is important to develop problem-solving and decision-making skills. A person can accomplish their decision-making skills by setting short-term and long-term goals by selecting the right and effective course of action from two or more alternatives. The Critical Thinking ability in a person helps them to overcome cognitive biases. The first step in decision-making is to identify the problem and depending on the person's values the person takes an initial response driven by their instincts and emotions (Alkhatib., 2019). An individual needs to look at their choices and make decisions rationally. The individual needs to understand the comprehensiveness and the issues at hand as it prevents confirmational bias. People tend to search for options that confirm their beliefs. Before making a final decision the person has to consider multiple viewpoints that help to foster creativity and different viewpoints. But there is an exception people with a reductionist viewpoint or worldview, only focus on specific aspects of decision-making rather than considering all the potentials of potential consequences. In this movie, George has taken an impulsive decision, by taking his wife’s life to release her from sufferings (Worley., 2016). For the audience, the life-taking scenes in the movie are too overwhelming as they create a conflict among the critics that Euthanasia is considered a criminal mindset without concern for medical assistance. But it also represents the negative mindset of Anna, who denies taking medical help when the situation is not so severe.

Interpersonal/Communication Skills.

Strong Interpersonal skills help an individual to better express their emotions and cultivate a stronger sense of bonding with others. It has become an issue in today’s world that many people are suffering from mental illness and cannot express their true feelings and emotions openly to their family members or their loved ones. Interpersonal communication helps to heal grudges, and hurt feelings, lower the risk of arguments and enrich professional and personal relationships from the societal point of view (Hall and Montgomery., 2019). In the movie, Anne suffers from a second stroke which leaves her incapable of talking, without eating she operating in a wheelchair which descends deep into despair. Continuous refusal to take help from her nurse grows frustrated. Eva daughter of the elderly couple, tries to help them with the medical assistance but Anna also refuses it. George tries to take her to concerts and outings but her deteriorating health condition leaves her to live dead. The Scene also reflects adults' social behaviour and their acceptance towards social norms.

Coping and Self-Management Skills.

The skill reflects an internal locus of control and the individual’s belief that they can make a difference in the world while accepting the changes. Self-awareness and Self-Evaluation are the two main aspects and skills of Self-management. Anger, grief and anxiety can lead to mental trauma which can be cured by positive thinking and relaxation (Cuthbert et al., 2019). In the movie, the situation arises due to a Claustrophobic situation and continuous struggling with pain has become continuous tranquillisation to death. Old age has become a constant threat towards their existence towards freedom and inability to take help from others. As in the movie, the neighbours are helpful and Geroge shows his willingness to nurture the relation while taking care of his wife. But their rigidness of Anna leads George into mental illness and stress which ends up causing their lives.


The essay concluded with the theological significance of “Death” in the film Amour, as a harsh truth of societal illness. It also reflects the bond of love between two individuals share in their lives, the better and the worse, the unflinching bond that can negatively impact the other half with the Death of the other and leave them in despair. It also added the ethical aspects of a relationship in the context of the death of loved ones. The film Amour concludes with two distinct pieces of information: The film depicts the superficiality and the solitude of escape from a loved one's death and pure love lasts with impossible sacrifices. The conflict, functional, interactive and strategic-theoretical perspectives help to understand the sociology of health and illness using evidence from The Film Amour.


Movie link:

Azkarai, A., Oliver, R. and Gil?Berrio, Y., 2022. Examining deductive versus guided instruction from an interactionist perspective. Language Learning, 72(S1), pp.125-164.

County, T.L., 2022. A Study on the Protection and Utilization of Qiang Watchtowers from a Functionalist Perspective. Open Access Library Journal, 9, p.e8750.

Cuthbert, C.A., Farragher, J.F., Hemmelgarn, B.R., Ding, Q., McKinnon, G.P. and Cheung, W.Y., 2019. Self?management interventions for cancer survivors: a systematic review and evaluation of intervention content and theories. Psycho?Oncology, 28(11), pp.2119-2140.

D’Angelo, S., Marcus, R. and Ngabonzima, E., 2022. Teaching and learning for life skills development: Insights from Rwanda’s 12+ programme for adolescent girls: Special Issue Youth & Adolescent Skills Development: Preparing young people for diverse global challenges. Development Policy Review, 40, p.e12622.

Pietraszewski, D., 2022. Toward a computational theory of social groups: A finite set of cognitive primitives for representing any and all social groups in the context of conflict. Behavioral and brain sciences, 45, p.e97.

Reith?Hall, E. and Montgomery, P., 2019. Protocol: Communication skills training for improving the communicative abilities of student social workers: A systematic review. Campbell Systematic Reviews, 15(3).

Scarpellini, S., 2022. Social impacts of a circular business model: An approach from a sustainability accounting and reporting perspective. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 29(3), pp.646-656.

Worley, T., 2016. Losing Touch: A Theology of Death for Michael Haneke’s Amour. Religions, 7(12), p.140.


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