British acting legends Charlotte Rampling (The Duchess) and Tom Courtenay (Quartet) star in writer-director Andrew Haigh’s much-anticipated follow-up to his acclaimed indie hit Weekend, an immensely moving portrait of a long-term marriage that is suddenly disrupted by a ghost from the past.
Retired couple Geoff (Courtenay) and Kate Mercer (Rampling) pass their days quietly on their country property near a small Norfolk village. One day, Geoff receives a letter notifying him that the body of an old girlfriend of his has been discovered, perfectly preserved in the Swiss Alps where she fell on their hiking trip nearly fifty years earlier. As the news sinks in, hidden tensions begin to emerge between the couple: though not insensitive to his wife’s feelings, Geoff finds himself helplessly drawn back into the past, while Kate becomes consumed by jealousy and uncertainty. Outwardly composed as she sets about planning their upcoming forty-fifth wedding anniversary, Kate begins to contemplate the “what ifs” of her life—which gradually leads her to the realization that maybe it was she who made a mistake all those years ago.
Favouring small moments and telling details over contrived confrontations and dramatic high points, Haigh builds slowly and naturally to the film’s poignant finale, while Courtenay and Rampling deliver performances that can easily be counted among the best in their respective careers. At once restrained and powerful, 45 Years is a reminder of film’s ability to encompass a lifetime of emotion and experience within a mere ninety minutes.
“It could be the finest hour for both of its lead actors.” (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian)
“A movie so simple, so elegant, and yet so devouringly empathetic that you might not notice its full magic until a few hours later.” (Jessica Kiang, The Playlist)