45 Years (2015)

Cast includes: Charlotte Rampling (Swimming Pool), Tom Courtenay (Quartet), Geraldine James (Gandhi)
Writer/Director: Andrew Haige (Weekend)
Genre: Drama | Romance (95 minutes) Based on a short story by David Constantine

Huffington Post

“You must be getting excited,” says the postman to Mrs. Mercer. “Call me Kate. We’re not at school anymore.” Kate and Geoff’s 45-year anniversary party is on Saturday, and they’re expecting a great many friends to help celebrate. It’s Monday, and there’s still quite a bit left to do. As Kate returns from walking Max, their big Alsatian, she’s humming “Smoke Get’s in Your Eyes” by the Platters and thinking it should be the song for the first dance… “The same song we had at our wedding.” However, Geoff is a bit distracted. He’s gotten a letter in German, and his German is rusty. “Apparently, they’ve found her.” “Who,” Kate asks. “Her body, anyway... my Katia,” he says. They found her, perfectly preserved, in the Swiss Alps in the glacier where she fell over 50 years ago. Her body hasn’t been retrieved yet because it’s too dangerous. “They asked if I want to go and see.” Kate is stunned that he would even consider making the trip. Geoff won’t even go for a walk here in Norfolk, England, where the landscape is totally flat. “Don’t be cross, Kate. I’m going to have a smoke.”

Kate has to go into town to see about party arrangements, but so far, it’s definitely been “an odd day.” Geoff finds his old German dictionary so he can study the letter in greater detail. “There’s something I want to tell you,” Geoff later says. “I was her next of kin.” Kate knew Geoff had a girlfriend who died, but this is news. “They thought we were married… I thought I had told you.” The problem with information like this is there’s never a perfect time to bring it up. Maybe he has upset Kate. “I can hardly be cross with something that happened before “we” existed… can I? Still…”

As details from 50 years ago come out in dribs and drabs, Kate knows she shouldn’t be upset, but it’s enough to drive both of them to smoking again. Totally unaware of Geoff’s news, Kate’s friend Lena has plenty to say on the topic of men and marriage… haphazardly stirring things up. Geoff has suddenly taken an interest in global warming… that’s the reason they were able to discover Katia after all these years. Each day, there’s a new wrinkle. Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay are excellent as the aging lovebirds. In a perfect world, such old information shouldn’t cause more than a blip, but it’s unsettling. Writer, director Andrew Haige has envisioned many relationship subtleties, as the unexpected news percolates and thickens. Part of what makes this film work is that he makes us reach for meaning, with many details introduced but not overtly played up. For the most part we see the narrative through Kate’s eyes, but Geoff is troubled, too. Thinking about Katia, perfectly preserved since 1962, makes him feel old. “The worst thing about getting decrepit,” he says, “is losing a sense of purpose.” Kate begins to wonder if Katia has actually been an invisible part of their marriage all along.

popcorn rating

4 popped kernels

As Kate and Geoff get ready for their 45-year wedding anniversary, there’s unexpected news that stirs up old memories and unexpected feelings

Popcorn Profile

Rated: R
Audience: Grown-ups
Gender Style: Sensitive
Distribution: Art House
Mood: Sober
Tempo: In No Hurry
Visual Style: Unvarnished Realism
Nutshell: Complications of senior romance
Language: True to life 
Social Significance: Thought Provoking

Comments welcome

Join our email list




©2017, Leslie Sisman | Design, website and content by Leslie Sisman