There is just one week until Kate Mercer's 45th wedding anniversary and the planning for the party is going well. But then a letter arrives for her husband. The body of his first love has been discovered, frozen and preserved in the icy glaciers of the Swiss Alps. By the time the party is upon them, five days later, there may not be a marriage left to celebrate.
The Review45 Years might be more aimed at my mother’s vintage, but my 36 year-old self was still left pondering life’s big questions after an emotional ride from this rich and rewarding film. Charlotte Rampling’s character points out at one stage “Men are obsessed with their obituaries”, and boy has that stayed with me.
It’s an acting tour-de-force from former 60’s Euro bombshell Rampling and Brit stalwart Tom Courtenay (Dr Zhivago), who have just gotten better with age. The undercurrents in their dialogue can be brutal, but it’s the looks and movements that really speak volumes. 70 year-old Rampling thoroughly deserved her Oscar-nomination for putting in the hard yards - she features in every single scene.
Director Andrew Haigh, best known for his gay dramas like The Weekend, isn’t even 45 himself (he’s 43) but understands the trials and tribulations of a long-term marriage like the back of his hand. He’s adapted a short story here full of classic frustrations that a lot of married (and divorced) people will relate to.
Kudos to cinematographer Lol Crawley (Four Lions), who captures naturalistic scenes, but lingers - especially in low light situations - which become unsettling and effective.
It’s not exactly the love-letter to the twilight years of your marriage, and it moves at a glacial pace at times, but that’s what makes the climactic celebration of their 45 years all the more powerful, heartfelt and thought-provoking. You’ll be hard-pressed to hold back a tear when the speeches are given.
Thought-provoking adult cinema at it’s finest. 45 Years might feel like 45 years at times, but watching two actors showcase a lifetime of talent is a beautiful thing.
DVD Releases: 13th July 2016
Rating: M – Contains Sex scenes & offensive language
Duration: 93 minutes
Starring: Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay, Geraldine James, Dolly Wells, David Sibley, Sam Alexander, Richard Cunningham, Hannah Chalmers
Director: Andrew Haigh (Weekend)
Seasons seem to change during the sequential days in the movie. On Tuesday, it appears to be late winter; all trees are bare and the oaks have brown leaves. While on Wednesday, on the paddle boat, it appears to be early Spring; the shrubs in the field wear fresh leaves. Similar to Thursday, where the fruit tree at the entrance of the factory is blooming. On Saturday, it appears to be winter again, the trees are bare and the oaks have brown leaves.
In several scenes, Tom Courtenay's character drinks his tea from a Hull City AFC mug. Courtenay is the President of the Hull City Official Supporters' Club.
Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay appeared in "Night Train to Lisbon" (2013).