A Marriage Reaches the Final Stretch
By Skip Sheffield
Marriage is not for the faint of heart. You start off with all the best intentions, but little things happen along the way. Sometimes they pile up and fester. Sometimes you reach a point of no return and even though the marriage has been long-lived, you have to admit defeat.
“45 Years” is a haunting, melancholy portrait of a long-married British couple facing their 45th wedding anniversary. Their 40th anniversary was cancelled when Geoff Mercer (Tom Courtenay) had to have emergency surgery.
His wife Kate (Charlotte Rampling) is determined to do it up grand for their 45th. However a letter from Swiss police authorities arrives for Geoff with unsettling news. The body of his long-ago girlfriend Katya has been discovered and identified in a crevasse in the Alps. Geoff never mentioned his first love to Kate. Why should he?
The news of Katya’s recovery rattles Geoff to the core. His wife can’t help but wonder what other secrets he has kept from her.
“45 Years” is based on David Constantine’s story “In Another Country.” The screenplay is adapted by director Andrew Haigh.
Charlotte Rampling is ideal to play Kate. She already has a mournful face. The corners of her mouth naturally turn down.
Tom Courtney is also well-cast as the seemingly meek and unexciting Geoff who harbors a volatile secret.
“45 Years” is not much fun, and it is worse if you have been through failed marriages as I have. It is not pretty watching a long marriage fall apart, even if it is just a movie. Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay have already received accolades at major film festivals. If you want to see masterful acting, this is for you. Just don’t bring a date.