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45 Years - Film Review

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by John Andrew (subscribe)
I enjoy "fine dining", presenting programs on radios 4MBS, MBS Light and 4RPH and going to drama and music at Brisbane theatres.
Published February 12th 2016
Smoke gets in your eyes
Over the last few weeks three movies have at least this in common – they are more about people than events, and they rely on the ability of superlative actors to convey feelings through long, silent close-ups, and momentary changes of expression.

The movies? Carol, Brooklyn and 45 Years.

The plot of 45 years can be briefly summarised, though it has taken a lifetime to live.

Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay play a couple who, to all appearances, have had an unremarkable but successful marriage, and are having a comfortable and companionable retirement, in an idyllic country village.

Their friends want to have a gathering to celebrate their 45 years together.

Tom, clearly something of an introvert, is compliant but not thrilled. Charlotte, more of a social person, is supportive of the rite of passage. Until, that is, news comes that the body of a former lover of Tom's, who died nearly 50 years ago in the Swiss Alps, has been discovered, perfectly preserved, in a glacier.

Tom's response to the news, and Charlotte's discoveries about Tom's former lover, show that any relationship may have secrets, and hidden fissures.

Despite the genteel understatements, we sense that it might not take much for the marriage to blow apart, or yet again to resume its flawed but workable dynamic.

Tom is reawakened to what might have been, and Charlotte wonders if she has always been second best.

There are no raised voices, no tantrums. All is nuance, gesture, raised eyebrows, understated dialogue concealing deep hurts and passions.

It comes as no surprise to learn that Rampling and Courtenay won the Silver Bear Awards for Best Actress and Actor at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival, or that 45 years has achieved British, European and Oscar nominations.

This is a superb piece of art, and one which will probably be on a "must see" list for many years to come.
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Why? Simply the best
When: Currently playing
Where: Cinemas across Australia
Cost: $18
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