Closing in on their 45th anniversary, Kate (Charlotte Rampling) and Geoff (Tom Courtenay) are busily making preparations to mark what promises to be happy occasion. However, just days before the party, their lives take an unexpected turn. A letter from Switzerland arrives for Geoff with news concerning a woman named Katya. Initially, the name means nothing to Kate, but it’s clear that Katya has stirred strong emotions in her husband. Geoff is quick to remind Kate that Katya was his old girlfriend decades earlier. In the 1960’s they hiked through Switzerland together; tragedy struck when she fell to her death and was apparently lost to nature. Now, nearly fifty years later, she has been found. Making the news even more amazing, her body has been perfectly preserved in a glacier. Geoff’s gut reaction is to go retrieve her body.
Though it’s Geoff who receives the letter, the real focus of 45 Years quickly shifts to Kate, who must watch as the man she loves struggles to come to terms with his obviously deep feelings for a dead woman. Over the course of the week leading up to the anniversary party, Kate does her best to be supportive and understanding toward Geoff regarding the whole thing, but there’s an obvious distance between the two. She had always believed he loved her as much as she. However, as the film goes on, Kate is faced with a once unimaginable question: has she been the love of his life, or simply his second choice?
There are no big fights, or even a harsh word exchanged. However, the various looks on Kate’s face tell you all you need to know from one scene to the next. The silences are devastating, the tension in every shot palpable. In several scenes, Director Andrew Haigh lets his camera linger on Rampling, allowing her eyes to say more than ten lines of dialogue ever could. Sometimes, it’s a gesture that fills in effectively for dialogue. Tom Courtenay’s character isn’t a bad guy; there’s nothing to suggest he doesn’t love Kate, but a victim of circumstance.
45 Years is a mature and understated film. Both Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay have been making films since the 1960’s. the two play very well off of each other and have delivered a compelling portrait of a longstanding marriage in crisis.
Presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, this 1080p presentation sports a clean image. Colors look slightly dull at times, but that may have been the filmmaker’s intent. Detail is quite good throughout and no noise is apparent.
The basic 5.1 DTS-HD master audio mix serves this dialogue driven film well. The eclectic soundtrack from Dusty Springfield to Mozart comes across with surprising richness. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout.
There are English SDH subtitles included.
There are no extras available.