Combustible Celluloid
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With: Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay, Geraldine James, Dolly Wells, Hannah Chalmers, Richard Cunningham, Rufus Wright, Michelle Finch, David Sibley
Written by: Andrew Haigh, based on a story by David Constantine
Directed by: Andrew Haigh
MPAA Rating: R for language and brief sexuality
Running Time: 95
Date: 12/23/2015

45 Years (2015)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Loves and Marriage

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Geoff (Tom Courtenay) and Kate Mercer (Charlotte Rampling) have been married 45 years and are preparing for their anniversary celebration when Geoff receives a letter. Apparently the body of his old lover (a woman he knew before his wife) has been found, preserved in the ice below a mountain. From there, 45 Years doesn't really go where you might expect. There are no adventures or expeditions to the high country and no dramatic reveals of frozen bodies. Rather, director Andrew Haigh (Weekend) concentrates on the small emotional intricacies and intimacies that build up over a long period of time between two people. They know each other as well as any two people could possibly know anyone, and yet, here they are, still learning. Most of the struggles in this story are subtle and internal and only the smallest flickers of emotion by the performers reveal that anything is going on. The final moments are almost mundane, until we realize that everything that has happened, has built to it. Overall, 45 Years lacks the power of the very similar The Dead, and, to me, Rampling has always been a little too cool, but this is still an admirable achievement.

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