Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay star as Kate and Geoff, a couple living in rural England who are preparing to celebrate their 45th anniversary when a letter arrives informing Geoff that the body of the German woman he was living with, before Kate, had been found in a block of ice, where she had fallen fifty years before. Geoff is listed as the woman’s next of kin, prompting a series of questions from Kate, who can’t believe she had never heard about this. The conversation continues as the couple prepare for the big party, revealing hidden feelings, more secrets and a struggle to communicate meaningfully even after 45 years of marriage.
The screenplay by Andrew Haigh (who also directed), is intelligent, insightful and nuanced, with a perfect ending. The wonderful performances by Rampling and Courtenay are beautifully understated. Between the writing and the acting, we have honest depths of character rarely achieved in cinema, resulting in a powerful, moving and haunting viewing experience.
The only reason I can’t give the almost-perfect 45 Years four stars is because I couldn’t relate well enough to either of the main characters to be as engaged as I would have liked (and this is meant to be a subjective review). So 45 Years gets a very solid ***+. My mug is up.