Tuesday, January 26, 2016

[Review] 45 Years

"It's funny how you forget the things in life that make you happy."

When the 2016 Oscar nominees for Best Lead Actress were announced, there's a good chance that most people weren't aware of Charlotte Rampling in 45 Years. That's because it's easily the most under-the-radar film of the bunch, and it's just now getting a bit of a wider release in the US.

The 45th wedding anniversary of Kate (Charlotte Rampling) and Geoff (Tom Courtenay) is a week away, and major preparation is taking place. However, out of nowhere, Geoff receives a letter from authorities informing him that his ex-girlfriend's frozen dead body was discovered in the Swiss Alps (50 years later!). Geoff is hellbent on digging deeper, while Kate is content with leaving the past in the past.

Metaphors abound, this is shattering to the Kate and Geoff's marriage, as the melted snow uncovers and reveals old haunts. The dynamics of their relationship suddenly shift, even after all these years of being together. And Geoff is completely oblivious to Kate's concern about his longing obsession. The film moves at a glacial pace, but it contains enough intrigue to make you want to see how things develop (and the runtime is only 93 minutes). Just when you think that the relatively mundane lulls are waning your interest, a thought-provoking third act reveal shakes things up again. And in regards to Charlotte Rampling (ignorant Oscar comments aside), she gives a sharp and understated performance here, but it probably won't quite stir you like Brie Larson in Room or Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn.

The subtle, character study-driven 45 Years is a fine film about the late stages of marriage and how much things can still change, especially if a layer of time is frozen.


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