Based on David Constantine’s short story ‘In another Country’, ’45 Years’ offers interesting viewing. Exploring how the past can affect enduring relationships creating new emotional ripples. With a strong cast and steady direction, ’45 Years’ makes the most out of its premise in an often engaging romantic drama.
Kate (Charlotte Rampling) and her husband Geoff (Tom Courtenay) are nearing their 45th wedding anniversary. Planning a big party, their lives are shattered by a past incident. Fifty years before Geoff’s ex-girlfriend mysteriously vanished during a hiking expedition in the Swiss Alps. When her body is discovered decades later, this turns their world asunder. Shadows loom large over their marriage with the phantoms of yesteryear threatening to de-rail Kate and Geoff’s once solid union.
Andrew Haigh directs ’45 Years’ with an appropriately low-key hand. Allowing events to naturally emerge, Haigh ensures we gradually understand Kate and Geoff’s conflicting emotions. Although still in love with each other, one simple act forces them to question their bond. Was it born of genuine adoration or just necessity is a question they ponder. Whilst they dislike doing this, Geoff’s deceased love drives a wedge they have to mend. ’45 Years’ doesn’t provide many easy answers, but life is never as cut and dried as the film effectively conveys.
It’s refreshing seeing more mature characters on-screen living still productive lives. Often regulated to the cinematic side-lines, such role-models have a purpose as much as younger ones. Rampling and Courtenay give solid performances. As their character’s moods swing from love, despair, paranoia and acceptance, it’s easy to go along with them due to their acting. The simply structured narrative is also a bonus as it slowly unfurls the ghosts of the past rudely interrupting Kate and Geoff’s idyll.
’45 Years’ is a fine character-driven piece embracing the screenplay’s interesting ideas. Dealing with past regrets is sometimes never easy but is an issue well told in a thought-provoking movie.
Rating out of 10: 7
Movie Review by Patrick Moore
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