4 Stars

Out of 4 Stars4

45 Years (2015, United Kingdom, d. Andrew Haigh, 95 Minutes)

by Robert Joseph Butler

Writer-Director Andrew Haigh’s (Weekend – 2011) “45 Years” is one of the most engaging and profound examinations of love and marriage since Michael Haneke’s 2012 masterpiece “Amour“. The film will open at the Maple Theater in Februrary where lead actress Charlotte Rampling is receiving a lot of Oscar buzz for her outstanding and emotionally subtle performance.

Haigh’s greatly scripted screenplay is adapted from David Constantine’s short story, “In Another Country. The film explores the live of a retired British couple who contemplate their long-enduring marriage of nearly a half-century together, in this multi-layered character brilliantly studies the take on relationships, aging, the passage of time, intimacy, jealousy, trust, and of course the healing power of forgiveness. The film is absolutely exquisite. All around a refreshing and delicate exploration of time and artifacts

The film is about Geoff and Kate Mercer, they have been married for 45 years, without children, Kate and Geoff Mercer are preparing to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary with a party, when Geoff receives a letter that reveals a lot of past secrets that Geoff holds well before his marriage. The letter is from Switzerland informs him that a body of his love before Kate has been found after an avalanche fell on her in 1962. Her corpse is now preserved in Switerland. As Geoff explains to Kate who the woman was,hidden tensions, secrets and revelations are exposed in unpredictable ways.

Geoff tells Kate that he was regarded as Katya’s next-of-kin, as they had been pretending to be married. Though Kate continues to plan for the anniversary party, and the couple shares romantic and intimate excitement about the celebration, Kate eventually becomes concerned by Geoff’s past love. It goes to show that we might never know the ones we truly love, even after long periods of timel. One of the best scenes in the film involves Rampling’s character Kate discovering old photos that reveals her husbands lost love.

Unlike other films about long-enduring marriages in turmoil, “45 Years” doesn’t rely on overly dramatic melodrama, but instead Heigh utilizes small melancholic and nuanced moments that end up carrying a lot of dramatic weight. Haigh allows Rampling to use a lot of psychical gestures and expressions instead of being overstated and dramatically overwrought. This is a very rich and understated film. Certainly one of the best films of 2015. The final scene is one of the most poignant final shots of the year.