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 first 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
In the cafe scene George tries to convince Tom Courtney's character that playing the ukulele would be a good hobby. In real life Tom Courtenay is an avid ukulele player. See more »
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 »
titular four and half decades and we meet them less than a week before a party to celebrate this special anniversary. That morning, Geoff receives a letter in German which over the next few days provokes a profound re-evaluation of their marriage. Although based on a short story of only 12 pages by David Constantine, the cinematic translation has all sorts of subtle changes, notably adopting the female rather than the male viewpoint.
Technically this is a wonderful film. It is shot entirely in the unusual ambiance of Norfolk and writer/director Andrew Haigh offers us many long shots of the flat terrain and even flatter broads. Above all, the acting is superb with both Courtenay and (especially) Rampling at the top of their game. The final scene, focused so long on Rampling's face is as evocative as anything since the camera clung to Geta Garbo's visage at the conclusion of "Queen Christina".
Emotionally, however, this is a tough piece of work. It is so slow, so understated, and ultimately so profoundly melancholic. In the cinema, my wife and I - together for three and a half decades - were surrounded people of the same vintage, most of them couples. I think that we were all looking for an affirmation that living with the same person decade after decade after decade, in spite of its trials and tribulations and irritations, is richly rewarded by so many shared memories and such deep love. This is not that film.
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