Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Charlotte Rampling     Tom Courtenay

            45 years refers to a couple’s marriage when they’re approaching their 45th wedding anniversary, which will be celebrated with a huge party.  The couple, Kate (Rampling) and Geoff (Courtenay), are elderly, but still active in their daily lives.  They have an easy-going relationship; Kate is nurturing when Geoff needs something like a thumb damaged from fixing a lavatory, and although Geoff is a bit absent-minded, he is attentive and responsive to Kate.
          One morning when Charlotte returns from walking the dog in the beautiful English countryside, Geoff is reading a letter written in German, but needs to dig up his German dictionary to understand it fully.  As the two go through their things in the storage room and attic, we get a hint that the past will be encroaching upon the couple and figuring into present experience, a favorite theme of David Constantine, the author of the short story (“In another Country”) on which the film is based.
       Indeed, the letter is to inform Geoff that the body of a woman he was very close to fifty years ago has been discovered preserved in the ice in a Swiss Alp after she fell into a crevasse by accident during a hiking trip.  Her body was never found until recently.  Geoff is informed by virtue of his being listed as “next of kin.” 
      Kate remembers hearing a bit about Katia, but Geoff hasn’t been completely open about this earlier relationship.  When she finds out how close they actually were, she becomes uneasy, even though this is something that happened years earlier before she even met Geoff.  She can’t let it go, and keeps quizzing him and even goes through old memorabilia to find out more.  This only makes her feel worse, but she feels compelled.
     Geoff has mulled over the possibility of going to Switzerland, but Kate is emphatically against it, so he dismisses the idea, and reassures her.  She is bothered enough, however, to make him promise that he will be present at their anniversary party.
      45 Years may seem like 45 years to those who love films with a lot of action.  But Kate and Geoff lead fairly conventional lives, and most of the film is showing us a picture of their lives and their personalities.  Much of the value is the way in which the two, especially Rampling, fill up the screen as powerful actors.  They are in sync the way couples who have lived together for years become, and that will be the appeal for viewers who enjoy observing people in their everyday lives. 
       Another highlight is Geoff’s toast to his wife at the dinner party; it is tender and says the things Kate would seldom hear from him.  They dance together lovingly, but the story doesn’t quite end there.  Constantine is a gifted storyteller who delights in last minute surprises.

A look at a marriage approaching its 45th year.

Grade:  A-                      By Donna R. Copeland

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