As soon as I found out that “45 Years” was written and directed by Andrew Haigh, I knew I had to see it, as I have enjoyed his work both on the film “Weekend” and the television series “Looking.” I have read in an interview of his that he considers this film a ‘companion piece’ of sorts with Weekend, and I get why: they are both films about relationships with uncerainties of looking forward. They are both hopeful movies in different ways, but how you interpret both movies depends on how you think about love and life.
Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay play Kate and Geoff Mercer, a couple who is poised to celebrate their 45th Wedding Anniversary, but before that, Geoff receives a letter. It notifies him that his girlfriend’s body has been found, frozen in ice since 1962 from a freak accident in the Swiss alps. This small bit of information changes the couple’s lives. Both Rampling and Courtenay’s characters navigate in a quiet way – her gaze, his stare – and what we get are fully realized performances without all the drama. There are no big confrontation scenes, no ‘acting’ moments. These actors are much too intelligent for that, and are able to convey their character’s feelings without exploding them in your face. Rampling slays me, and I finally now have a horse for the Best Actress race of the year. Consider me on the Team Rampling side. When she give her final withering in the final scene, she conveys so much emotion: happiness, sadness, relief. Relief for what? You be the judge. (It’s akin to Filipino Actress Nora Aunor’s look-t0-the-sky scene in ‘Thy Womb’)
’45 Years’ also jumps to one of my favorite movies of 2015. It’s one I connected with, the final dance scene made me weep. This is a movie that makes you feel what love feels – something that is hard to describe and communicate. I have been a little disappointed with the late year releases lately, and this just fit what I am looking for in a film experience.