45 Years (DVD Review)

15 – 95mins – 2015


Based upon David Constantine’s short story “In Another Country” and filmed in and around Norwich and the Norfolk Broads (which is what brought it to my attention), 45 Years is a slow-moving melodramatic talkie about a hiccup in the near half-century marriage of two OAPs (Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay), who are in the midst of organising an anniversary party.

Fraught and fragile, editor-turned-director Andrew Haigh’s accolade-showered picture is brimming with bottled up emotion as retiree Geoff (Courtenay) seems disproportionately consumed by the news that the body of Katya, his former lover who went missing while hiking in the 1960s, has been recovered from a glacier in Switzerland.

“I can hardly be cross about something that happened before we even existed…”

Geoff’s wife, Kate (Oscar-nominated Rampling), is initially understanding of her husband’s stupefied reaction, until a noticeable change in his disposition raises disquieting questions about whether his affection for her was ever as strong as it was for his tragic first love.

Coloured by a wash of internalised sentiments which never quite bubble over (at least not vocally) even come the closing credits, 45 Years makes for relatable, raw and sincere – if hardly sensational – viewing for a mature, intuitive, action-weary audience.

CR@B Verdict: 3 stars