We don’t often get to watch films about the passions or romances of the over 60’s. A few that have been made often show tremendously pretty and well kept seniors- Somethings gotta give or It’s complicated or Grumpy old men, come to mind. But while these are feel good, they are still a bit showy & fake and sadly not very deep or textured….
Watching 45 Years was an eye-opener… the possibility that jealousy, doubt and relationship crisis can only happen to passionate 30 somethings blown clean out of the water!
A slow screenplay should have been boring, but the movie does not let you fidget. Charlotte Rampling & Tom Courtney deliver a stellar performance, the English landscape adds a rich backdrop to the slowly unfolding drama and more than that, what is left unsaid or just hinted at, draws you into the very ordinary lives of this retired couple.
He is a frail old man, 70+ and typical of many his age, a man of few words and dogged. She is a relatively fit late 60’s retired teacher, who is organised and sensible. 5 days out from their 45th wedding anniversary party, an innocuous letter arrives and sends ripples through their somewhat dull and routine lives.
Geoff Mercer finds out that the body of his girlfriend from 45 years back has been discovered in the glacier where she fell to her death. Triggering a range of memories in Geoff, but more importantly slowly driving Kate to question their lives.
Geoff’s sudden discussions with Kate about Katya, his hidden attempt to go to Switzerland to see her body, his admission to Kate that he was named next of kin and Kate’s sudden realization at the gaps in their 45 year life together….she comes face to face with the fact that shared memories are not captured and that Geoff states that had Katya survived they would have probably been married.
Her moment of truth comes as she finds Geoff’s old diaries and Polaroids in the attic and discovers that the gruff old man she is with was a sentimental young man in love, who preserved old flowers and kept a diary of his time with Katya and the photos reveal she was pregnant when she died.
She begins to question their whole life and as the movie ends, she shakes of Geoff holding her hand and the audience understands that she is ready to move on and away from this 45 year relationship.
An absolutely gripping performance!
And one that made me wonder- A woman is happy to be with a man who may have been married and divorced, but cannot accept that another woman held a part of her man’s heart that she does not.
Kate is jealous and feels betrayed by something that happened decades ago, but somehow that seems to be justified. You feel she is right to feel cheated and you feel bad for her.
At the same time you feel sorry for the husband, who is drawn back into a youthful past.
A well deserved Oscar nomination for Charlotte Rampling!