45 Years

 

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As a couple’s 45-year wedding anniversary approaches, an unexpected secret from the past unsettles the status quo. Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay star and have deservedly attracted international acclaim.

 

A husband and wife in their autumnal years are preparing for their 45th wedding anniversary. She, Kate, is still an active and attractive former teacher in her late sixties. He, Geoff, is bit of a doddery, older man who cancelled their 40th wedding anniversary when he had to undergo emergency bypass surgery. They are well-off, well-read and in their own universe, quite ordinary. But they are contented. Then, one morning, Geoff receives a letter in the post that shifts the status quo…

 

45 Years

A life betrayed: Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling

 

Based on David Constantine’s short story In Another Country, Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years is admirable in its restraint. Like Amour and the recent Radiator, it explores old age in unflinching realism, while building its drama on a handful of small moments that one might miss entirely should one dip into one’s popcorn at the wrong time. Indeed, it’s a film whose greatest pleasures reside in its subtlest details. Conveying these with consummate dexterity is Charlotte Rampling as Kate, who manages to illuminate not just her character’s descent into early old-age, but her intelligence, her everyday normality and the encroaching emptiness that defines her life with Geoff (Tom Courtenay, also excellent). It is an exquisite balancing act that she pulls off with masterful intricacy. There are no fireworks in the film as such, but a terrible sadness that informs so many seemingly perfect relationships. Following this and his previous feature, the brave, funny and intimate Weekend (2011), one can but wait for Andrew Haigh’s next film with unseemly anticipation.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay, Geraldine James.

 

Dir Andrew Haigh, Pro Tristan Goligher, Screenplay Andrew Haigh, Ph Lol Crawley, Pro Des Sarah Finlay, Ed Jonathan Alberts, Costumes Suzie Harman.

 

The Bureau-Artificial Eye.
95 mins. UK. 2015. Rel: 28 August 2015. Cert. 15.