If you like action movies and thrillers dont bother with this one. If you like chick flicks well best to leave this one behind. Truth is, I dont want to put you off but I do want to prepare you. This is not a film about marital bliss.
45 Years is the story of Kate and Geoff Mercer who are celebrating 45 years of marriage. The film spans the week up to the celebration date when a venue is booked at which family and friends are invited to share in the couple's joy at this noteworthy wedding anniversary.
And of course it is noteworthy and Kate and Geoff like most couples, want to celebrate 45 years of wedded life. Whether it is a blissful life or not is perhaps a little of what I was expecting to see in the film. But that in itself doesn't really make for a good film theme, and this is where the film succeeds in moving you onto a different level.
So there is another dimension to the story.The week leading up to their anniversary Geoff receives a letter to say that the remains of a girlfriend who tragically got killed on a hike in Switzerland, were visible. A glacier had receded and she was found after all those years. Geoff had been her "next of kin" so he was notified of this in the letter he received. He is visibly shaken by this news and he shares some of it with Kate. She was vaguely aware of the existence of this other woman. This is not a spoiler but central to the way the story unfolds in the week leading up to their Saturday celebration.
Charolotte Rampling is an actor who for me epitomises female beauty and even now as a 70 year old, her face and her body suggests beauty and pose and a grace and dignity which has come of a good life. Tom Courtenay is an actor who I know less well. In the film he is portrayed as a little older than his screen partner, he is an opinionated lefty with clear likes and dislikes and probably quite hard to live with.He is masterful at giving us a Geoff with all his quirks. Kate shows us in the earlier part of the film how nurturing and caring she is of her partner and how life has settled into this comfortable and predictable existence. The relationship between the two is ably directed by Andrew Haigh who through the details of this wedded existence, walks with the dog, cups of tea, the bracing scenery of the Norfolk broads and the gestures between them displays their relationship fully and expertly.
Geoff's past however reveals things about him that she was not aware, and before long we see her questioning her knowledge of her partner and the life they had together.
Over the week we see these changes taking effect. He is troubled by the revelation and becomes quite withdrawn and secretive. She is increasingly curious and upset about this and wants to find out more about this dead woman and what she meant to Geoff.
I felt both acted their roles superbly but especially Charlotte Rampling who with her visual expressions gave so much meaning to her inner turmoil.
It is thought provoking and perhaps far more universal a theme than a lot of us would want to admit to.