Classic Movie Reviews

Classic Review: 45 Years (2015)

Since I’ve started this site, I’ve written a lot of reviews. In case you missed some of my earlier ones, I would like to share an older review of “45 Years” which originally appeared here.

There is just one week until Kate Mercer’s (Charlotte Rampling) forty-fifth wedding anniversary and the planning for the party is going well. But then a letter arrives for her husband Geoff (Tom Courtenay). 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.

So this is the last, big award nominated film that I’ll probably get the chance to see before the Oscars so I was excited when it finally got to me. I understand that the film is based on a short story, called In Another Country by David Constantine, so I may or may not be wrong about some things. So this film is about a woman named Kate Mercer (not to be confused with Emily Blunt’s character in Sicario, Kate Macer)(Rampling) and her husband Geoff (Courtenay) who are just a week away from their 45th wedding anniversary. A cloud begins to form over the pair once Geoff receives a letter informing him that the body of his first love had been discovered. By the time their party comes, there may not be a marriage left to celebrate. At first glance, this film may appear too simple and slow which may deter some but I thought it was worth staying with it. The film’s plot is driven by Kate and Geoff and the performances of Rampling and Courtenay. You want to stay with it because of Rampling and Courtenay’s performances as they were both great here. I thought they had great chemistry which made their marriage look very believable. There are no flashbacks here so the performances, which I already mentioned, and the dialogue and the script which was very good here. The characters here felt very normal, going with the point about the film being slow, and relatable. The majority of the film follows Kate and Geoff, focusing on their marriage from their first 45 years together to the week leading up to their anniversary and the reintroduction of the first woman Geoff ever loved, despite the fact that she is dead. This revelation changes where Kate sees herself in her marriage as she feels like she has to compete with this dead woman. Rampling was great at conveying her inner troubles through her scenes with Courtenay and in many solo scenes which are often wordless from the use of her facial expressions. She was definitely captivating to watch, following her through the English countryside. You definitely a felt a connection between this film and the countryside, capturing it and it’s people beautifully. Because of its openness, you really feel a sense of isolation where both characters were together and then they start to drift apart and may never come back. I don’t want to spoil anything and say whether or not they do but I was interested in figuring it out. What I didn’t like so much about the film was that I would have liked to have seen more of Courtenay’s Geoff. I understand why the film focused on Kate and her problems and Rampling did a great job playing her but I wanted to see more of Geoff. I did like the ending and the final shot and I will leave it at that. Slow or not, the film is not very long so that helps. Overall this a good film with a great story, led by great performances by Rampling and Courtenay but was a little slow for me but not too slow.

Score: 8/10

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