45 Years. The Act of Marriage.

45 yearsThere are few actors who can command a screen solely with their eyes. Charlotte Rampling is one of them. 45 Years was written specifically with her in mind and boy, does she do it justice.

 

Charlotte plays Kate, who is married to Geoff (Tom Courtenay). Geoff and Kate live an unremarkable existence in an unremarkable area of rural Norfolk. Their life is a quiet, unremarkable routine of walking the dog, opening the post and taking trips into town for shopping and coffee. They’re about to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary and are in the middle of planning an elaborate party to mark the occasion. Until a small bombshell drops.

 

Geoff receives news that an ex girlfriend has been found dead. Extraordinarily, she has been discovered in a glacier, perfectly frozen in time, having evidently lain there for years. The shock revelation stirs up long dormant feelings in Geoff that Kate finds increasingly difficult to deal with. Her suspicions aroused, Kate discovers evidence that Geoff and his ex were a lot closer than Geoff ever let her believe. So close that Kate questions whether she was ever Geoff’s true love. Whether she has in fact been second best all these years.

 

From unremarkable beginnings, 45 Years becomes a truly remarkable film. The Sloth can’t remember ever seeing such a totally convincing portrait of a marriage on screen. There is no doubt that these two have been married for decades, so natural and understated is the rhythm of their lives, interactions and conversations that leave as much unsaid as said. We, as viewers, have simply intruded as flies on the wall. Quietly devastating and utterly believable, Kate’s crumbling inner self is painful to watch and completely human. It makes us question how we would deal with such a potentially total betrayal, wondering whether the majority of our life has been a sham. With minimal fuss, this is a film 100% about the actors who both deservedly won Silver Berlin Bears. We doubt you’ll see better performances in a cinema this year. Or next, for that matter. Go see.

UK release 28 August.

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