Despite his Best Actor win at the Berlin Film Festival, Courtenay’s performance is the weak link in 45 Years. Many of his lines feel over-rehearsed, though fittingly he’s more animated when reminiscing about lost love Katya.
Courtenay once or twice shifts out of second gear, excelling when Geoff is at his grumpiest. Yet Rampling soars above him, her vibrant and truthful performance keeping the pace from becoming too languid.
Haigh employs a docu-drama style which crafts an uncomfortably convincing fly-on-the-wall feel, using repeated structure and shot types to build a sense of the rhythms and routines of the couple’s life.
Haigh incorporates wry observations about relationships, both humorous and tragic, while intelligently reflecting on aging. Sadly though, 45 Years never quite reaches the promise of its premise.
CAST: Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay
DIRECTOR: Andrew Haigh
WRITER: Andrew Haigh
SYNOPSIS: One week before his 45th wedding anniversary, a letter arrives announcing that the body of Geoff’s first love has been discovered, preserved in the Swiss Alps. Five days later, there may not be a marriage left to celebrate.