The two best films of 2012 that I saw were both French films with subtitles, Amour, which I saw last night with the Gotham Gal, and The Intouchables, which we saw when it came out last summer.

The Intouchables is a joyous film about two people in need coming together to enrich each others' lives. It is uplifting.

Amour is not. It is a gut wenching account of an elderly husband caring for his dying wife. The film made me deeply uncomfortable. There were scenes I couldn't even bring myself to watch.

It is said that great art makes you uncomfortable and if that us true Amour is great art. I dreamed about the movie and woke up with it on my mind. I am blogging about it now. I can't get it out of my brain so I am hoping that by writing it down I can move on.

Amour means love and I guess caring for a dying spouse is the greatest act of love one can make. I can tell you that I am not looking forward to that part of our marriage and I got a fast forward to it last night. It was painful but ultimately deeply moving and powerful.

I would say you should go see it but honestly you might not want to. I am not sure I would have chosen to see it had I known what I was in for. But I am glad I did.


Comments (Archived):

  1. rfradin

    Fred -Did you see Silver Linings Playbook? It is excellent. An absolute must-see. You will love it. Wife will love it. Really great.

    1. fredwilson

      I saw it. Joanne loved it. I did not. It was a Hollywood film. Sappy and predictable. Sorry to be a hater but I have to be honest.

      1. rfradin

        I’m shocked! Was a little sappy but I thought it was hilarious.

        1. LaVonne Reimer

          I may have read something into it. I detected a powerful sub-message. We are all a bit crazy at times and who isn’t more daft than those of us who launch startups against all odds? So I left it feeling renewed compassion for the daftness inside and beyond.

    2. ShanaC

      loved it myself. I needed the sappyness

  2. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    I put great store in the idea “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof”. If you and GG love each other as much as I suppose and hope you will handle those days together when they come – that is Love – with it you need no focus on tomorrow.Today you can change your future but not your past.So work on what you can do today – it might make tomorrow bearable. Or it might help you get there!

    1. fredwilson

      Great way to think about life

  3. Dave Hopton

    What Sarah Said by DCFC encapsulates this pretty wonderfully…

    1. fredwilson

      great song

  4. Tom Labus

    Congress as art.I know it makes me uncomfortable

  5. RichardF

    I won’t be watching Amour, my mother looked after my father last year at home for the last nine months of his life.It was his wish that he died at home and not in hospital and my mother (with the help of some amazing healthcare professionals) made sure that wish was granted. She took most of the responsibility for his care, I always knew my mother was a stoic and a strong woman but how she managed I will never know. I would agree it is the probably the greatest act of love one can make.Watching someone you love fade away is gut wrenching.

    1. William Mougayar

      Poignant. Thanks for sharing. You mom is amazing.

    2. fredwilson

      yup. that is the movie. don’t see it. you’ve seen it already

    3. SamuelHavelock

      Caring for someone you love fade away, is you dying alongside them. In my case, a daughter.

      1. fredwilson

        oh god. i am so sorry.

      2. RichardF

        I am so, so sorry Samuel.

  6. scott crawford

    Thanks for this. What an excellent share.

  7. kidmercury

    amour sounds too hard for me. i used to like that type of stuff but now i work and network/socialize too much, so i want my entertainment/art to be as idiot-proof as possible.for me the best movie i saw in 2012 was 21 jump street. hilarious. looking forward to anchorman 2 next year and dreaming the rumors of step brothers 2 are true.i did see django unchained because i’ll make an exception on my “stupid movies only” rule for tarantino. really great movie, gotta see tarantino stuff in the theater.

    1. fredwilson

      his scenes are amazing. the christoph waltz character was amazing. the fact that he can think that stuff up and write it. wow. he’s incredible.

      1. kidmercury

        seriously. i just assumed it was an adaption off a book or something, then i checked the credits and its wholly original. the acting was phenomenal. in christensen’s book the innovator’s DNA, he talks about how the hallmark of great innovators is combining completely unrelated disciplines – i was reminded of that in seeing how tarantino combined a traditional western with a political history movie to make something innovative. great soundtrack too.

        1. fredwilson

          i loved the soundtrackthat movie, while gory as hell, was very entertaining

          1. Richard R

            Thought Django Unchained was one of the best films of 2011, metric being, lights went down and I was totally enthralled right to the end.

        2. awaldstein

          I’m a big Tarantino fan from day one.He just sees the world through his own so quirky, so much his own eyes. Even those that don’t love him, applaud that.As a lover of language and dialogue, he really gets stylized gab like no one else.

          1. bsoist

            I loved Django and Bastards and some of his other stuff, but some of his work is not really my style.BUT I give real props to a guy who invents his own genre of film. I watch all of his films.

          2. awaldstein

            Agree….Creative Labs exploded into the world wide multimedia and gamers markets at the time that Pulp Fiction took over the imaginations of the world. I connected with him through that time of my life when I was meeting with game developers in every country and personally was running that part of the biz.

          3. bsoist

            I became a fan when I saw his part in Four Rooms. He’s a nut.

      2. Dave Pinsen

        Not as big a fan of Tarantino lately, but this scene from Inglorius Basterds where Waltz starts questioning the “basterds” in Italian was hilarious:

    1. fredwilson

      thanks for the suggestion Josh

  8. William Mougayar

    That’s a tough warning- “should go see it/might not want to”, “not sure I would have/glad I did.”I’ll want to see it but I’m not sure when. Maybe at home when I can stop the disc if I wanted to. It won so many awards.I grew-up watching movies with Jean-Louis Trintignant- he’s like a Clint Eastwood of sorts playing in lots of cop movies.

  9. jason wright

    my mother was diagnosed with motor neuron disease in 2001. as an only child with an errant father it fell to me to do the right thing. i’m still doing it.

    1. andyswan

      Good on you Jason

    2. fredwilson

      twelve years? wow. what an incredible thing you are doing.

      1. jason wright

        it’s not easy, but it’s not so bad either. i’ve made many micro adjustments along the way. having good survival strategies helps. i could write a book about it, but i won’t.

        1. LE

          To what extent do you feel that having to deal with that has held you back (if it has I’m not assuming just asking)?

          1. jason wright

            it clarifies options and creates a more defined environment for sure. in principle that can be a good thing (although i wouldn’t have chosen this particular ‘it’ as the setter of either) as it creates a structure to work within. I’s made things different from what they might have been, but there is no parallel existence i can glance across and take a look at for comparison. this is not Sliding Doors. it definitely slows progress by adding complication.

        2. Dave Pinsen

          Maybe you should consider writing one. Could be of help to others going through something similar.

          1. jason wright

            some things should not be revisited. keep moving forward is my motto. perhaps years after i will think differently.

        3. bsoist

          >it’s not easy, but it’s not so bad eitherWhat a great way to look at it. Keep doing the right thing, and keep looking at it like that.

    3. awaldstein

      Humbled in front of this Jason.

    4. ShanaC

      wow, how do you do it

      1. jason wright

        we’re all capable of far more than we realize.

    5. LE

      I feel incredibly fortunate that I’m not in that situation and I’m glad for you you said below “not easy but not so bad”. Both parents (late 80’s) still fully functioning don’t need any of my help and not dependent on me at all in any way. (Same with siblings). I wish I could be thankful every day for that but I tend to forget it. Reading what you are saying reminded me but I will most likely forget like the crash films in high school.

    6. William Mougayar

      Great achievement it is.

    7. Ruth BT

      Jason you are my inspiration for today. Just had a parent diagnosed with Motor Neurone and coming to terms with having to care for them from another continent away. Amour will not be on my list of films to watch – not beneficial at all!

      1. jason wright

        it can be managed. it’s a journey, and not all is darkness. i wish you well.

    8. Dasher

      I admire you Jason. Your mom is lucky to have you as her son.

    9. matthughes

      Much respect.I took care of my mom.I was too young, in way over my head, and to this day, I regret not being able to do more for her.It was hell. It was also the defining time of my life.

    10. FlavioGomes

      Strength, wisdom, compassion and endurance are your return. Respect.

    11. Aaron Klein

      That is true love, and it’s a beautiful thing despite the difficult circumstances.

      1. jason wright

        it was amour, but has over time morphed to become more based on duty and obligation.

    12. markslater

      thats wonderful.

  10. David Roman

    In my view it’s best to know what you’re in for so that you can properly brace for impact. That is a reality that we will likely all one day face. To be naive of this reality is risking cherishing every moment.I have so much respect for the elderly. No one will appreciate your love more than your grandparents will. I make a conscious effort to visit my grandma at least once a week, if not call. She speaks very little english, we pretty much have the same conversation every time since I don’t speak spanish fluently but the extent at which she thoroughly enjoys my company, even if we sit in silence is the reason why time with her is prioritized.She has polymyalgia– which is like arthritis except the pain is in the muscle. She lives in constant pain and the woman deserves all the smiles she can get. She inspires me.

    1. fredwilson

      awesome comment

      1. David Roman

        thanks! just to refresh your memory Fred, i’m the “USV is making news!” kid hahaFunny story for the rest of the AVC community who has no idea what I mean by that:A few years back when I was starting to get into entrepreneurship there were many obstacles I had to overcome. I didn’t go to college, I didn’t have a network (which now in the current time i’m FINALLY starting to accumulate a network)– I didn’t come from much. So I never got any responses from my emails.My naive assumption was that their inbox is getting bombarded– their not seeing my email and if they do I don’t think they’re opening it.So every email I started sending I would put the name of their firm or startup followed by “is making news” and it worked! Fred answered me back– we scheduled a skype call and he ended up setting a meeting for me to meet with Adam Bain at twitter which was cool.I started receiving much more responses– it was awesome. Gary Vaynerchuck responded to my long, elaborate email with one word: “worked”LOL!

        1. Abdallah Al-Hakim

          nice story ๐Ÿ™‚

          1. David Roman

            Thanks Abdallah! To add a lil inspiration to the story i’m on the verge of closing my first ever venture round!I’m under the belief that those who are able to endure the most hardship are those who are likely capable of sacrificing the most. Those who sacrifice the most are the ones who will likely experience success to it’s fullest extent. And that’s what I’m hoping will be the case! lolOther than providing a voice for the less fortunate, something else I one day plan to be very vocal about is the fact that I didn’t go to college and i’d consider myself an example of the first gen that was solely educated by the internet. The internet was my classroom and the bloggers were my teachers.By no means are my intentions to encourage people to not attend college but to rather understand the importance of leveraging the internet and the effects of it being a supplementary source of learning.I also hope that investors will start to be less reluctant towards those that aren’t college educated. Focus less on the accolades and more on the context of what we have to say– just because we don’t have a degree doesn’t mean we aren’t educated. In fact I say this quite often but when i’m in a position to start angel investing, my personal thesis will be as such:Invest in the smartest people I can find that have as least of a formal educational background. Because this means everything that they know was simply driven by incredibly pure passion. This means that they’ve likely had no choice but to search for understanding without guidance which means they can think for themselves, problem solve, are creative as all hell and have learned how to thrive off being challenged and that’s who I’d bet my money on.But I am so bullish on the implications the internet is having and will continue to have on education!!

          2. Stevec77

            I am your brother.

  11. AlexBangash

    It’s amazing how French and Scandinavian movies take on subjects that few mainstream hollywood movies dare to takle. That’s what makes them so memorable and moving.

  12. Elia Freedman

    A couple of years old now but an incredible German movie called The Lives Of Others is worth a see. Maybe the best movie I saw all year about German’s spying on German’s during the Cold War.

    1. fredwilson

      i saw it. great film. i loved it.

    2. karen_e

      Me too, saw it, loved it.

  13. aminTorres

    Moonrise Kingdom was my fave of last year, I think it had the right amount of of everything I like in a movie.

    1. fredwilson

      i liked that movie a lot.

  14. Laurie Barlev

    The best advice I have gotten is to live in the present. You can’t control the future and can’t change the past. Worrying doesn’t help–it only causes more agony and what you envision will never be what happens.Making the most of today (to be cliche) will probably give the greatest satisfaction and the least headache.Fred, it seems you do that already.

  15. gregorylent

    watch “5 broken cameras” next … filmed by a palestinian farmer will also make you uncomfortable, in the right way that only art can.

    1. fredwilson

      thanks for the suggestion


    What does this have to do with venture capital !? :o).Dark Knight Rises was good.Bourne Legacy was good.Ted was good.Total Recall was good.Killer Joe was whack!Resident Evil was OK.Savages was good.The Watch was good.The Expendables 2 was OK.Lawless was good.Men In Black 3 was good..Can you tell it was a movie marathon cold winter weekend recently?

    1. fredwilson

      absolutely nothing to do with VC


        I love gun violence in movies. I think it’s a good way to protest gun control. I don’t think that gun control helps in any way. I think that it really detracts from the problems people face. I think the wasted effort put forth on gun control could be effectively used to help people with problems that think killing others is a solution!.The idea to let people’s issues languish along until they’ve determined that someone needs to be killed is horrible. We need to focus on people and how to help them in any way possible.

  17. Gwan Yip

    Having recently watched my father go through that process with my mother, who passed away from cancer, you’re right to think it’s one of the darkest moments in anyone’s marriage. Not even i can comprehend what it must be like to watch your life long partner of decades fade away day after day.But the bond i saw between my mother and father, at the time when she needed him most, was truly inspiring. As dark and sad as that was to go through i think it could be one of the purest forms of love one can give and i feel fortunate i know that my parents had that. It’s the inevitable cost of being truly in love.And not to go off on a tangentโ€ฆ when you see love in the purest form, you understand why you need to love what you do in life, you obviously love your job and writing this blog hence the connection with VCโ€ฆ. BOOM

  18. awaldstein

    Watching some one you love pass away first hand is just all pain. My mom did it for my father…for a year. 30+ years later, she talks about my father all the time but never that. That’s not the life or the person that lingers. The good stuff is what is memorialized and celebrated forever.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      That’s the good thing about memory. It highlights the good. As it should.

  19. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    I will probably watch it but will leave it to another time of the year. I generally find my mood to be foul during January! It is always great to watch non-hollywood movies every once in a while as they are certainly different.

  20. LE

    Watched recently on Netflix and worth watching (not spectacular or anything but worth watching):Mammoth – (Takes place in NYC, Phillipines, Thailand)…In Search Of – (Takes place in the Lehigh Valley)… (guy who made this is doing a kickstarter for another project)Reunion – (Similar to The Big Chill)

  21. Matt A. Myers

    I’m guessing there have been a number of hugs since watching Amour.

  22. Charlie Crystle

    It’s part of the commitment, and hard, I suspect. I fear dying alone, but then again I don’t want to be a burden on anyone. We’ve had a few deaths recently among friends and family, and my former in-laws are struggling daily. So it’s been on my mind a lot too, but I’m grateful for what I have and the time I’ve had with all of them. Taking care of dad as he slowly died from cancer was hard–you carry it with you a long time. But knowing that someone will be there for you when it’s your turn? Reassuring. I turn the channel when I see things like that these days. Trying to focus on positive things, gratitude, daily joy.

  23. LE

    By the way, the diss that Boehner did against NJ and NY (withholding Sandy $$) was almost certainly a direct payback for what Christie did with his Obama praise that cost Romney the election.My theory on this. Christie’s attempt to do what was in the best interest for his state failed to take into account who handles the purse strings. It’s not Obama who writes the check. Just like the CEO is not the gatekeeper in a company for your toilet paper.In the end it will all work out and the money will flow. But if you wonder why in politics you have to play games this is a good example. Christie screwed up and looks impotent over this clearly. All those NY politicians also looked pretty bad as well. They made promises to their constituents and looked like they couldn’t deliver.What Christie did back in November for reference:

    1. Dave Pinsen

      Boehner said a Sandy vote will happen in a couple of weeks, but that bill has to be larded with pork. Otherwise, I don’t know how you justify a bill of $60 billion. No doubt, some lost homes due to the storm, but does anyone have an account of exactly how many had truly significant losses from the storm?Forget about folks like me, who just lost a few hundred dollars worth of stuff in the fridge when the power went out — I’d feel like jerk filing a FEMA claim for that. Let’s get the number of people who suffered real financial losses from this, and then divide $60 billion by that number. My guess is that the quotient will be embarrassingly large. I can see why Christie would want to get this rammed through before anyone finds that out.

      1. fredwilson

        our building sustained losses in excess of $1mm so far. i was just looking through the bills. ugggggggh.

        1. Dave Pinsen

          That sucks. Any idea of when it will be fixed?

          1. fredwilson

            we were supposed to be back in tomorrow but we just found out that the fire safety/sprinkler system is missing an important component that is on a truck and won’t be here until early next week. we can’t live in a building that is unsafe. so it’s mid next week now. the gotham gal is losing it.

          2. FlavioGomes

            But oh how sweet the return when it happens ๐Ÿ˜‰

          3. ShanaC


        2. John Revay

          Assuming covered by insurance vs FEMA vs Flood#Waterview

          1. fredwilson

            Supposedly we are insured. When they will pay who knows. Until then we are out of pocket

      2. LE

        “but that bill has to be larded with pork. Otherwise, I don’t know how you justify a bill of $60 billion”Yeah but the lard doesn’t matter between friends and that’s the point.There was a perfect opportunity for getting that money with no questions asked and nobody would ever dare criticize or wonder about any of the bill padding. It’s big number.I was nominally affected by the storm (one shore place large building we are on the 9th floor and the building is shut for 4 mos and needs new systems) but at home and the office nothing. So my thoughts were (in all honesty) hey this is pretty good. We are going to have all these billions flowing into NJ which will be great for the economy here since it was paid for by people all over the US. Just like we pay for the uptick in other storm ravaged areas. Or people suffering overseas.

        1. Dave Pinsen

          “Yeah but the lard doesn’t matter between friends and that’s the point.”That’s the attitude that got us $1 trillion+ deficits. $60 billion here, $60 billion there, pretty soon we’re talking about real money.

          1. fredwilson

            $60bn is real money to me!

          2. John Revay

            Something does not add up for me…Private insurance companies were talking losses in the hundred of millions, Utiilities were talking losses around $1b, so I am hard pressed as to how the Fed Bail out can total $ 60B Between CT, NY, NJ & NYC.Seems like it is heavily padded – lots of worts case big estimates that get rounded up

      3. LE

        “I’d feel like jerk filing a FEMA claim for that.”Why would you feel like a jerk? I mean either you are entitled to FEMA money and it’s worth your time to make a claim or you are not entitled and/or it’s not worth your time to make a claim.But I do know how you feel. I brought my car in for service to a dealership (in Princeton) that was closed for 2 weeks because of the storm. Right after it opened back up. While it was in there it got nicked. At first I didn’t want to make a claim (with the dealer) because compared to how they must have suffered I felt really petty doing that. Then I thought about it and remembered how much care I take to make sure I don’t have any nicks etc on the vehicle. Parking far away from other cars and the like. And thought the car was damaged and that’s that. They are a dealership and need to take care of this. The storm and any other issues they have has nothing to do with this. And I’ve given them good ratings and sent them referrals and purchased two new cars.

      4. Richard

        yep. end of the day 50K-200K households geting shafted again with higher payroll takes, high healthcare costs and deferred compensation (aka social security) that is being looted BY BOTH PARTIES.

      5. Aaron Klein

        Agree 110%. The estimate I saw was $30 billion in pork larded on top of $30 billion in relief spending.Somehow it seems like a 100% pork tax just to get a bill through the Senate is a little steep. Can’t they hold it to a more “reasonable” amount like the 55% top marginal rate out here in California? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      6. ShanaC

        Some homes in my neighborhood did very very poorly. Walk 13ish miles away, and there are no more homes. That’s where the money goes.

        1. Dave Pinsen

          How many homes were there? Were there 300,000 homes there? Because at $200,000 per home, that’s how many homes $60 billion buys.

          1. ShanaC

            The entire north area of my town is next to inlets and is JFK’s draining zones. And the houses run about 500k. And that doesn’t include the fact that people were out of power for over 3 weeks in some cases, bringing down a number of small businesses in the area.

  24. Dave Pinsen

    Related to this, a quick PSA: if you have any advanced directives regarding your health care, make sure your loved ones know about them. My girlfriend’s mother passed away last week, and the doctors in the ICU were asking if she had an advanced directive. We just found one going through her stuff last night.

    1. fredwilson

      we have living wills. kind of hard to make those decisions now but i think its best to do that

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Definitely. Just make sure your kids know where they are.

        1. fredwilson

          we have estate lawyers and accountants and trust administrators who all have copies of these documents (and not just these).we are very buttoned up on this stuff and we have paid handsomely to be so

    2. panterosa,

      I totally agree. I made my mother get one and I did too in my 20’s. Since my BF is in medicine I will be taking a flea comb over some of the options in NYS.



    1. ShanaC

      why do incredible ideas break minds?

      1. FlavioGomes

        If I were to guess…is to break rather than build upon conventional thinking

  26. Richard

    007 not worth $.007 Sam Mendez is no brand manager.

  27. Emil Sotirov

    Fred… my wife and I watch TV5 Monde (the French channel). We have it through our Comcast cable. Besides seeing the occasional great French movie (like the one you are talking about)… watching this channel keeps us in touch with the French… the language… and the way of life in France. We like the “no-drama” drama of French life and art.

  28. Jon Winebrenner

    I had a very similar response to the Cormac McCarthy book, “The Road”. That book haunts me to this day.

    1. fredwilson

      that is an amazing book

  29. panterosa,

    Anyone see The Sessions? Everything about that movie was ballsy and straightforward, mixed with kindness – so refreshing.Not sure about seeing Amour myself. Teenage years in cancer ward with my father, and my mother on massive care duty. He’d be 90 today. I’ll ask my mother if she will see Amour, and then if she’d recommend it.

    1. fredwilson

      i liked the sessions very muchhis relationship with the priest (william macy) was excellent

  30. Cam MacRae

    Good luck — I saw it in July and I’m still thinking about it.

  31. William Mougayar

    If Hollywood made a few more of this type of movie, and a lot less of ones with guns & violence, I think it would be better for everybody.

  32. Brandon Burns

    considering the movie fanatic i am, i’m embarrassed that i’ve seen neither and have nothing to say.except that they’re two of the last 4 movies on the awards list that i have to go see, along with life of pi and cloud atlas, and we be hopefully seeing this this weekend.maybe my zero dark thirty best picture prediction will be rattled? i’d love to see a foreign flick take it home, and i hear Amour is as good as it gets. and Michael Haneke is my hero.

  33. Cheer Up

    Fred – I love your blog and wouldn’t change a thing. But lately it has been a real Debby Downer to read this first thing every morning. Be well.

    1. fredwilson

      for good and bad, my blog is my blog. it is what i am. i am trying.

  34. bsoist

    My son, who sees 200+ movies a year, was looking forward to Amour in a big way. After he saw it, he says he’s still not sure if he loved it or hated it.

    1. fredwilson

      Exactly how I feel. But I wont forget it.

  35. bfeld

    If y’all haven’t seen Beasts of the Southern Wild, you must. http://www.beastsofthesouth…Mindblowingly awesome.

    1. fredwilson

      Yeah. Saw it when it came out. Awesome film.