Andrew Haigh / Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay / Drama / 2015 / 15 / 95mins
A masterwork of loss, Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years is a study of old age and old loves. For both Kate Mercer (Charlotte Rampling) and husband Geoff Mercer (Tom Courtenay), both come to haunt them when the past bites back.
It’s not a tearjerker as such, despite all the loss and isolation the picture portrays, more a dismal and depressing little feature.
Shots that encompass their lonely house in the English countryside to the borderline horror when Kate investigates the projector in the attic; each scene fails to find unity. Rarely are the couple seen actually looking at each other in the same shot as the film progresses – there is no direct and evidently visual connection. Basically, there’s no onscreen eye contact between the two toward the end. Love is lost.
I can see why Rampling was nominated for an Oscar. She has to convey the emotion of the entire feature and she handles it incredibly well – by the end, you wonder how Kate is still functioning.
There’s a twist – you know there is. It comes early and builds and builds and unravels into this paradoxical entity: both subtle yet wound into the fabric of the entire feature and its central characters.
Power in subtle swathes, that’s the beauty of 45 Years, the graceful acceptance of loss and the irreversible nature of life unfolding, slowly, onscreen. Yet I get the feeling most people will dally about whether they like it. The fact nothing is obvious apart from the twist (which, as noted, comes early) means you could be left wondering why it takes over and hour and a half to finish. Embrace it. Watch Kate, watch her grow distant from the man she loves.
WARNING: This film contains elderly sex. Oh yes.
45 Years was well received by critics for a reason. It’s bold yet subtle take on a narrative of loss seems incredibly fresh. Question is: will the content take your fancy? For some it may be a struggle to pick apart what should be regarded as a great British film.
Film as a Film – 4 / Target Audience – 4 / General Audience – 3
For more film & music gossip follow @TheHECReview on Twitter. Harry also writes for The Huffington Post.
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The poster art copyright is believed to belong to the distributor of the film, Artificial Eye, the publisher of the film or the graphic artist.