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45 Years  : Stretched To An Eternity
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Friday, March 4, 2016
Andrew Haigh
Charlotte Ramping, Tom Courtenay, Geraldine James

Perhaps that’s what happens when you take a thought and make a full-length film out of it. It’s been 45 blissful years for childless couple Kate and Geoff. They live in the countryside, she walks big Max every morning, Geoff’s getting on in years but they dance, they kiss and they make love.


Until she finds him fumbling over news that’s come in about Katya, an ex-girlfriend. Her body’s been found after 50 years, frozen in deep snow, high up in the Swiss Alps. Geoff and Katya had been climbing the mountain when she’d slipped and fallen to her death. Kate’s disturbed when she learns that Geoff is considered Katya’s next of kin because they were once a couple.


Would Geoff have married Katya if there hadn’t been the accident? Yes, he says, they would have got married. Kate feels betrayed that he hadn’t told her about it all these years. The disquiet grows when she learns he’s been making enquiries about going to Switzerland. And the attic throws up slides and pictures Geoff has preserved of his old love. It includes one that indicates Katya was pregnant when she had the accident.  


The whole film lingers on Kate’s facial expressions of dismay as she makes one discovery after the other. Geoff tries to work on their marriage. A beautiful gift followed by an endearing speech made by Geoff at their 45th celebration culminates in a leisurely picturised waltz to the same song they’d danced to at their wedding. But Kate moves through it all like she’s on auto pilot while myriad expressions continue to flit across her face.


I’d personally think that in today’s time, a past relationship shouldn’t be such a big deal. And certainly not after 45 happy years of marriage when the former girlfriend is long dead, leaving little room for insecurity.  On the other hand, one understands it’s the thought that something so vital was kept from her all these years that makes Kate feel cheated and wonder if she really knows the man she’s been married to for so long.


Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay are comfortably convincing as Kate and Geoffrey but Andrew Hague Haigh’s story and direction move at a geriatric’s pace.


For a story that plays on an emotion but is not wildly exciting for all ages, 45 Years gets a 2.5* rating. 


Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Senior Journalist & Author
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