Last Friday night my husband and I went to see “45 Years”.
There were two reasons that I wanted to see this movie. The first is that Charlotte Rampling is nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. The second, and bigger reason, is that I wanted to support director Andrew Haigh. I was a big, BIG fan of a show that he did for HBO called “Looking”.
I loved “Looking” so much so I blogged about every episode of the second season (check out my blog entry on the second season finale: https://jeremyochsgonzales.wordpress.com/2015/03/23/looking-season-2-episode-10-season-we-hope-not-series-finale/).
The movie is very subtle. Much like “Looking” I think some people would argue that it is boring but it is anything but. The film has a lot of drama in it but you have to wait for it to unfold, much like how drama often unfolds slowly in life, before it reaches its apex.
The film is about a couple getting ready to celebrate their forty fifth wedding anniversary when the husband (Tom Courtenay) receives word that the body of an old girlfriend has been found over fifty years after her death. What unfolds is a slow build between husband and wife (Rampling) where we see how poor the communication between this couple has been despite the fact that they have been married for forty five years. The film doesn’t truly come together until the third act but it’s worth the wait.
At the end of the day “45 Years” makes you look at very complicated issues. Is truth an absolute or are people allowed to keep things to themselves if something happened before you met your partner in life? How much does your youth weigh on us as we get older? What is forgivable and what isn’t forgivable.
I honestly felt bad for both characters. Geoff (Courtenay) is in an impossible situation. He has kept his wife in the dark about certain things about his life before they met. Now that the past has come into the present he struggles, and fails, to reconcile the life he might have had with the life that he did have. As difficult a position as Geoff is in Kate (Rampling) is in a worse situation.
She tries to be understanding but at a certain point she has to confront truth about her husband, herself and her marriage. She truly has nowhere to turn to find a comforting answer.
Both Courtenay and Rampling give very good performances. Their performances and the film aren’t showy but life really is rarely showy. The ending is rather a melancholy open ended one. You are left to interpret for yourself what will happen next but the options, like they so often are in life, aren’t the best.
“45 Years” is in limited release but I do recommend it for anybody who likes a good character film with good acting.
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