Kate and Geoff Mercer are planning to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary with dozens of friends. The event is to take place soon in the community hall of Norwich, the town near which they live. A week before the party, Geoff receives a letter which, although he tries to hide it, obviously troubles him. When his wife asks him what is going on, Geoff tells her that the body of Katya, his fist great love who disappeared fifty years before in the Alps, has just been found in a melting glacier. From then on, Geoff starts behaving more and more strangely and for the first time after so many years Kate asks herself who the man she married so long ago really is. Written by
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The morning when Rampling's character enters the kitchen, the clock reads 7:32. Later, being concerned about the passage of time, we see Rampling check her watch as she follows Courtenay into the storage area. Afterwards we see them once again in the kitchen concluding a conversation and going outside to have a smoke. To account for the time that had passed, the clock reads one hour later: 8:32. (Of course the odds are 1 in 60 that it be exactly 1 hour later, but such are the elements of master strokes!) Another morning the clock reads 8:25, and in the afternoon it reads 1:00. There are no goofs with the clock. See more »
I have no doubt that in 70 years from now Andrew Haigh's new film will be as highly thought of as "Brief Encounter" is today. "Brief Encounter" dealt with a love affair that wasn't and the effect it had on a conventional middle-class marriage. "45 Years" is set within similar territory but here the disruptive love affair is, arguably, all the more powerful and its effect all the more devastating. It takes place over six days, Monday to Saturday, and begins when husband Geoff receives a letter in German informing him that the body of the girl he loved 50 years before, and who died in an accident in the Swiss mountains, had been found, presumably preserved in ice just as she was the day he lost her, and ends up at the party held to celebrate Geoff's 45 year marriage to Kate.
It's a love story, plain and simple, and is, in its quiet way, unbearably moving. As the days pass between the receipt of the letter and the planned party, Kate comes to realize that she might not have been first in Geoff's affections, let alone the great love of his life and this knowledge becomes unbearable to her. For most of the picture Geoff and Kate are the only two characters on the screen, (the only other sizeable part is that of Lena, Kate's best friend, beautifully played by Geraldine James). In a very short space of time we get to know these people intimately. It helps that they are magnificently played by Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling, neither of whom has ever been as good before and both of whom should be brushing up on their acceptance speeches come the awards season, (they have both already taken home Silver Bears at Berlin). The picture belongs very much to them but it also establishes Andrew Haigh as perhaps the foremost director working in Britain today; the leap from "Greek Pete" through "Weekend" to this is staggering. Haigh never puts a foot wrong; every detail of the picture is perfect. Nor is there an ounce of sentimentality to be found though the closing scene is a heart-breaker of the kind rarely found in the cinema. I have no hesitation in calling "45 Years" a masterpiece. Its success in Britain is guaranteed; let's hope the Academy are as welcoming come Oscar time.
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