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 <more>
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.
marriage shaken by revelation of husband's old affair (by maurice_yacowar)
Andrew Haigh's 45 Years is a seismograph of internal feelings, suppressions and revelations. From his first remark, "My Katya," Kate feels her relationship undermined. He hasn't forgotten his first great love, nor fully informed her. As she later says, she fears he did not think she was wife enough for him. Perhaps it was in order to shield her from such discomfiting knowledge, Geoff kept back secrets from her, including that Katya died pregnant and that they had passed themselves off as married. His protection — ostensibly of his wife but perhaps primarily of himself — <more>
over the years undercuts her trust and security now. The discovery of a body buried in ice is the film's most compelling metaphor. It signifies any secret or passion attempted to be hidden. Geoff didn't tell Kate enough about that relationship because he didn't want to confront it fully himself. Burial seems easier. In her most crucial speech Kate says that Katya's constant but unrecognized presence in their marriage lay behind all their major and even minor decisions. Geoff bought her Katya's perfume, chose their holiday trips to avoid his Swiss memories and probably decided they would have dogs but not children. Having lost his first pregnant love he would not risk another. His aversion was contagious: Kate plans to buy him an anniversary watch but declines when the display is of Swiss watches.So, too, Geoff's rejection of family photos. He preserves his cache of Katya pictures, however secreted in the attic, but they have not taken and hung pictures of Kate and him, or the dogs. The film's first metaphor occurs in the opening titles, which appear to the click of a slide projector. This sets up the attic scene where Kate discovers the slides of Katya, including the disturbing image of her pregnancy. The early scenes are in the shadow of that heard but unseen projector and the Katya truths it withholds. The other major metaphor is fissure. Katya fell into a fissure in the glacier. Now her rediscovery creates a fissure in Geoff's and Kate's marriage. As Kate discovers Geoff's secrets she realizes she has had to bear the unequal share of their responsibilities. The third fissure is within Kate, as she incrementally falls out of love with Geoff and decides to escape their marriage. Once a teacher, now Kate learns a new truth about her marriage. The breakup happens at their anniversary party, within the appearance of convivial celebration. Kate has expressed her desire to leave but urged him to go through with the party so others won't sense their fissure. He vows to "start again" — in the usual way: buying her a little necklace, bringing her tea in bed, making her scrambled eggs, shaving for the event and making the obligatory speech off love and gratitude, ending in the obligatory — and predicted — tears. For most of the party Kate's gallant conduct and smiles suggest she may have forgiven him and is willing to start anew. But as they take the floor to dance to The Platters' Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, her demeanour subtlety changes. As Geoff dances with increasing flash and flair she seems to sense an empty performance in him, which may also reflect back upon his speech. At one of his flourishes she snatches her hand away and steps back, signifying the end of their dance, probably of their marriage. The smoke has cleared from her eyes and she sees that his entire devotion to her has been based upon deception, his denial of his lost passion. She also realizes that she has put up with his falsity and inadequacy for too long. Kate has had to make all the accommodations to sustain their marriage while he did what he wanted and didn't do what he didn't want to do. She married him at 20, when he was older and on the rebound from Katya. Having just lost her mother, she was vulnerable for a marriage that granted her duties rather than rights. Some marriages are like that. Several long shots show Kate as an isolated figure in the open landscape. But Geoff is always shot close-up and encased or framed. She is the open and expansive one, he the restrained and secretive. Hence his glasses, which hide his eyes, and his beard, which hides most of his face and which he removes only for the party, after he has been exposed. When Geoff describes his German he says the nouns are easy but the verbs are hard. He knows what things are but not what their relationships are, what the nouns, whether people or objects, do to each other or what happens between them. Relationships, the verbs, are the obedient wife's preserve. Nor is Geoff entirely without our sympathy. He does love his wife and has acted as much as his understanding would allow in her interests. When he decides not to go to Switzerland he seems finally to have come to terms with the secret he left partially buried for the 45 years. We can believe he is grateful for Kate and wants to continue their marriage. There have probably not been this year two film performances as subtle and powerful as the two leads here. Had Rampling been allowed a vehement eruption she'd be a lock on the Oscar. But this film is all subtlety, her experience all interior, and her eruption no louder then stepping out of the Platters' dance. The film's stage or arena is clearly Kate, so we often get long closeups of her quiet, nuanced responses while Geoff speaks. Rampling's inflections are astonishing. If this were a novel, her fleeting glance at the ukulele player would by itself warrant five pages of description. This film is a privilege.
Oscar 2016 :COURTENAY AND RAMPLING performance (by g-rafaschieri)
GREAT PERFORMANCES RAMPLING AND COURTENAYI saw this film and the couple of actors Courtenay - Rampling must winner for a race Oscar best leading actress and best supporting actor and the screenplay8nominations for this good film. Courtenay offers with the his silence and expressions is the result of a great performance like Rampling with face and more words than Courtenay. The film and the story are this couple and these two actors are perfects in their role. This film is for all the old and young couple because is like a mirror of a marriage,Courtenay and Rampling are at top of their <more>
William Shakespeare wrote Sonnet 116 , "Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove: O, no! It is an ever-fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken." Though Shakespeare would not admit impediments to the marriage of true minds, Kate and Geoff Mercer in Andrew Haigh's "Weekend" 45 Years find that their marriage may be on shakier grounds than they thought when a letter arrives in the mail that causes them to question the truth of their lifelong connection. Winners of the Silver Berlin Bear at the 2015 <more>
Berlinale, Charlotte Rampling "The Forbidden Room," and Tom Courtenay, "Night Train to Lisbon" deliver remarkably enduring performances as the childless couple looking forward to the celebration of their 45th wedding anniversary until it is upstaged by an unwanted reminder of the past.Based on David Constantine's short story "In Another Country," the film is set in the flatlands of Eastern England and takes place in the course of one week, delineated by intertitles. It is restrained and subtle yet manages to convey deep emotional hurt without shouting matches or theatrics. The couple, now in their declining years, live a comfortable life close to the town of Norwich, famous for Julian of Norwich, a 14th-century mystic and author of the first published book in the English language written by a woman. Most days consist of mundane events such as Kate taking the dog Max for walks in the countryside, both going into town to do some shopping, or joining friends on a riverboat excursion. Their world is turned upside down, however, when only one week before their anniversary, Geoff receives a letter telling him that the body of Katia, his first love, has been discovered, preserved under the ice on a Swiss mountain where she died in an accident fifty years ago. Although this happened before Geoff and Kate met, the letter leaves them both shaken. Outwardly oblivious to the harm the revelation has caused, his actions show that it has affected him deeply. He resorts to smoking again after many years, looks in the attic for old photos of Katia, thinks of going to Switzerland to identify the body, and wanders aimlessly in the town. When Kate finds out that Geoff is officially listed as Katia's next of kin and uncovers a very revealing photo of Katia from the past, she begins to question whether or not their relationship was based on a lie. Although the film is told from Kate's point of view, Haigh refuses to comment on the rightness or wrongness of the circumstances and does not question the way in which the characters react, content to observe rather than judge. Geoff and Kate go through the motions of planning for the party as if nothing has happened but there is the ever present elephant in the room. Rampling's facial expressions, even when she is attempting to hide her feelings, reveal deep-seated weariness and pain. There are no heroes or villains in the film. Shot with loving attention to the silent vistas of the English countryside, 45 Years conveys a sense of isolation, of two people being together yet growing apart, a dream that has been shattered, and a lifetime of security undermined by a moment of doubt. It is a thorny subject but beautifully told with gentleness and love.
"45 Years" is a great demonstration on how to evoke so many layers of emotion and inner turmoil with a fairly simple filmmaking approach. These types of stories have been told lots of times and probably a bit better Mike Leigh promptly comes to mind . But what director Andrew Haigh does here which provides the film it's gut wrenching sensation is that he writes these characters with so much depth and naturalism that the events that slowly unravel begin to make the film more and more despondent as it goes on. Here we have a happily married couple getting ready to celebrate a <more>
milestone 45 year anniversary, only for an untimely piece of news regarding Geoff's Tom Courtenay past flame whom has passed away, which puts a spanner in the works. Being such a long time ago it would be feasible to think that this won't affect their current relationship, but suddenly all these memories come storming back and he suddenly gets caught in a sort of time warp. He brings her up at every opportunity, he can't stop talking about her. And this is where the film skillfully shifts it's focus onto Kate's Charlotte Rampling character. What she once thought was a perfect marriage filled with unbridled endearment immediately turns into a self-doubting thought process. Does he really love me? Am I his one and only? Rampling is just extraordinary. Subtle in her expressions and exterior but inside the hurt is palpable. No showy antics, no histrionics - simply a masterclass in masking her grief. Haigh uses the bleak Norfolk countryside to great effect, placing her in the center of surroundings that perfectly illustrate what she's feeling -- forlornness and heartache. Courtenay is excellent as well, though not quite as affecting. But what he does brilliantly is convey the actions of an individual that can't quite come to terms with this news and it sets off a chain reaction of resorting to bad old habits and outlandish behavior. The final scene however couldn't have been crafted any better if they tried. Whilst directed with so much grace and acted wonderfully by Courtenay with his anniversary speech, it was Rampling who elevated it to devastating effect . The words may have been music to the ears for many, but for her it was just so bittersweet because she didn't feel that same affection. She displays a multitude of emotions throughout; smiling, laughing, sorrow, melancholy. Her mind is constantly in a state of befuddlement. What should be one of the greatest nights of her life is far from it. And then the dance, which honestly made me tear up. Not only for Ramplings acting and heartbreaking final shot, but the lyrics to the song pretty much summed up everything that was destroying her; "When that lovely flame dies Smoke gets in your eyes" Their marriage may live on, but it will now always be shrouded with her belief that her husband doesn't hold the same love for her that he once had, and this woman from days gone by will always be present for the rest of their lives."45 Years" is a slow burning, intricately designed exploration of the underlying grief us humans undergo when in tough times. It's both beautiful and harrowing, aided by incredible performances.
Based on the short story In Another Country by David Constantine, '45 Years' is a Powerful human-drama, that is emotionally violent as well devastating. Great Performances add to the impact.'45 Years' Synopsis: In the week leading up to their 45th wedding anniversary, a couple receive an unexpected letter which contains potentially life changing news.'45 Years' is an extraordinary film, because it knows what it is: That begin an ugly love-story about a couple under shock. I was engrossed by the narrative thoroughly. Andrew Haigh's Writing is superb. This is Writing <more>
of the highest order. Haigh's Direction, on the other-hand, is tight, focused.Performance-Wise: Charlotte Rampling & Tom Courtenay are at their finest. Rampling explodes in an emotionally devastating performance, that deserves serious awards consideration. Courtenay is first-rate, involving himself completely to the part. Its a delight to watch both of the veterans lighten up the screen.On the whole, '45 Years' cannot be missed. Strongly Recommended!
Three people in this marriage one of them's dead (by davidgee)
A bitter-sweet love story, more bitter than sweet. With their 45th wedding anniversary looming, Norfolk pensioners Kate and Geoff Mercer get a letter that tells them the body of Geoff's first great love has been found in a glacier in Switzerland.I thought for a moment that this was going to be a murder mystery, but it's not. The tragedy was accidental she fell into a crevasse , but the dead woman now casts a huge shadow over their anniversary plans, and over their marriage.We see the couple in Norwich city centre, on a boat trip on the Broads and at parties with friends Geraldine <more>
James delivers solid support as Kate's best friend, blessed/cursed with a ukulele-playing husband , but this is essentially a 'chamber piece', with most of the scenes concentrated around Kate and Geoff in their dinky little cottage on the edge of a small village. There's a bedroom scene which is both touching and cringe-making.Out of bed as well as in, Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling give performances that make you feel every moment of their love and their pain. Rampling is mesmerising in wordless scenes, searingly conveying Kate's inner turmoil; her face in the final frame suggests that the end of the movie is very much not the end of the story.The pace is slow, intentionally so. Not a movie for fans of high-octane action or smutty farce, but if you have happy memories of THE GO-BETWEEN remake shortly to be seen on BBCtv , you will savour this. I did.
Kate and Geoff live a quite and seemingly normal life in the country until Geoff receives a letter informing him that the body an old girlfriend, whom he travelled through Switzerland with, but was lost in climbing accident, has been found preserved in a glacier of ice. This happened before he met Charlotte Rampling's Kate, who immediately raises her eyebrows at the clarity in which Geoff, played by Tom Courtenay, recalls his time in the Swiss Alps. She's more concerned with arranging the party for her anniversary than digging up the past, but that's what spurs Geoff into life, as <more>
he picks up old habits and develops a fascination with his loft. In stark contrast, suspicion and jealously soon begins to grow in Kate, who feels pushed aside in favour of someone she didn't even know. In some ways, 45 Years is shot like a mystery or a crime film, with the days chartered appropriately in this regard, although there's an overwhelming feeling of Gothic horror abound, but without the Gothic overtones. It's set in the Norfolk Broads, after all, but Kate and Geoff's country cottage could be the house of Usher given the secrets that lie beneath. The performances are exemplary, of course, whilst the staging and framing is that of a director at the top of his game. Both visually and with regards to the diegetic soundtrack that tells the story of this couple's life. But how much of that was defined by Geoff's dead girlfriend? The film's parting shot is genuinely brilliant, with the camera focusing on Kate much in the same way it stayed on Bob Hoskins at the end of The Long Good Friday, or George Clooney in Michael Clayton, challenging audiences to stare into the mind of a character and draw our own conclusions.
A fantastic character study, greatly performed by two greats. (by Sleepin_Dragon)
Kate and Geoff are a mature couple enjoying a peaceful life, their 45 year wedding anniversary is soon approaching, but this sense of calm is broken when Geoff receives a letter, telling him that the body of his first wife Katya has been found in the Swiss mountains. We see the effects on Geoff an Kate during the lead up to their celebration.It is a wonderful character study, with two acting legends, Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay, both showcasing their vast talents, as a combination the pairing are formidable, too many high caliber scenes to pick out any real specifics, although the <more>
living room dancing is expertly done.A good supporting cast too, I'm biased towards Geraldine James, but as always she is fantastic. She doesn't try to overtake or overshadow, she's great.It's a film I very much enjoyed, it belongs to a certain genre of films that often gets overlooked, one that could easily be dismissed as boring, but it is expertly done. A true gem with an acting masterclass. 8/10