Review of "45 Years (DVD)"

published 14/08/2017 | thedevilinme
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Pro An 'acting' movie on emotive themes.
Cons Bit lugubrious
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"Is Charlotte Rampling the new Judy Dench?"

45 Years (DVD)

45 Years (DVD)

Star – Charlotte Rampling & Tom Courtney
Genre – Drama
Run Time – 90 minutes
Certificate – 18R
Country – U.K.
Oscars – 1 nomination
Awards – 20 Wins & 52 Nominations
Amazon – £5.92 DVD £6.00 Blue Ray
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So ‘45 Years’, the type of acting led British film the BAFTAS adore as two of their own, and great, British stage and film actors Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtney go head-to-head with a strong script for a classic and understated middle-class relationship drama from director Andrew Haigh (Le Weekend), his thing. Rampling is in her 70s now and has lost that smoldering sex appeal but boy can she act, as one critic put it - ‘How many great movies could be written across the enigmatic, profound face of Charlotte Rampling? Hundreds? Thousands”…

Tom Courtney, Oscar nominated for Dr Chivago (1965) and The Dresser (1983) and also famous for Billy Liar (1963) and Queen & Country (1964) is more the stage and TV ‘luvvie’ these days under his toupee and has accepted there are fewer chunky roles out there for guys of his stature and ability, 45 Years one of those movies, getting back on top at those awards ceremonies with it. For Charlotte Rumpling, ‘45 Years’ was surprisingly her only Oscar nomination in a long career that began as totty in the Beatles film A Hard Days Night back in 1964. The Dame Judy Dench National Treasure vacancy is there if she wants it as Helen Mirren takes up her duties as our sexiest old bird now.


• Charlotte Rampling as Kate Mercer
• Tom Courtenay as Geoff Mercer
• Geraldine James as Lena
• Dolly Wells as Charlotte
• Max Rudd as the Maître d'
• David Sibley as George
• Richard Cunningham as Mr. Watkins

The film takes place across six days in rural Norfolk as childless comfortably off middle - class couple Kate (Rampllng) and Geoff (Courtney) are planning their 45th wedding anniversary with family and friends in Norwich. The big do was originally set for their 40th but his heart bypass operation and recovery put an end to that.

A week before the anniversary party, they debate the music that will be played at the party. The opening song from their wedding 45 years ago is their choice for the opening dance once again - a poignant song that Geoff has always liked. But six days before the big day their morning is somewhat jolted when Geoff receives a letter from Switzerland telling him that the body of Katya, his lover in the early 1960s, long before he met Kate, has become visible in a melting glacier where she fell into a crevasse on their hiking holiday with over 50-years ago.

Memories come rushing back and of what little German he used to know means he is unable to fully understand the full impact of the letter. Kate knows about Katya previously and they have discussed the accident and that time and never an issue in their marriage. She is initially unconcerned over the letter but it’s soon on her mind as her husband seems affected somehow as Geoff clumps around the house looking for his old German-English dictionary.


"I can hardly be cross about something that happened before we even existed..."

He tries to keep from Kate that he is thinking bout flying to Switzerland without her to see Katya's body, which he imagines preserved in the now-transparent ice, still looking youthful. Kate tries to suppress his thoughts by getting Geoff to talk about his relationship with Katya, revealing that they pretended to be married on that hiking holiday to room in conservative Switzerland and so he ended up next of kin.

As the days pass and preparations for the party continue, Geoff moods increase and takes up smoking, which both had given up in the past. But Kate is not sleeping now and ne night; Geoff climbs into the attic to look at his memorabilia of Katya and only reluctantly shows Kate a picture of Katya. Kate starts to ponder all of her life with Geoff and their relationship and how Katy may have influenced that in ways she didn’t think. When Geoff is out she decides to claim the ladder into the dusty attic into his past, only to find a shrine to Katya and that song playing on the old home movies of her in Switzerland. It’s emotionally devastating for Kate as she ponders those 45 years. This party will be very hard indeed…


This is one of those films for film makers as they appreciate the acting and directing work that has gone into it, all the hidden looks and metaphors there to be discovered. For me it was just another stiff upper lip British drama that was very well made and mildly engaging. It’s probably the type of thing that would make a good stage play and so more for that Radio Four crowd. I didn’t dislike it, and at times engaged in it, but I wasn’t enthralled by it. I suppose I was just not old enough.

Not surprisingly the acting is good and the pair convincing as a discreet retired married couple contemplating their long life together and the secrets and feelings we keep to ourselves for eternity. We all carry a torch for someone else in our lives and that’s our businesses. But for Rampling’s character the idea her husband loved someone else in his life seemed all too much for some reason. I’m not married and so, perhaps, failed to tap into that emotion of the cache of a long marriage.

With its gentle emotive soundtrack and pang of regret throughout it’s certainly film that will hit home with an older intelligent audience. It did $13.3 million world –wide and not a bad return for this type of niche crafted British drama and the punters in the cinemas the subject matter. The awards and nominations are responsible for that box office as the media and the American owned multiplexes are not interested in showing this type of British film to earn this type of audience. But it is above average if you like you thinking movies and so one to look out for. I wouldn’t say it was too old hams on screen but definitely an acting movie. The idea of a lost love from 50-years ago possibly preserved in ice as you remember them all those decades ago is quite a powerful thing to build film around. It makes you think about ageing and perhaps love is simply adoration of youth and beauty and in the moment rather than simply being stuck together thereafter.

RATINGS – 7.1 /10.0 (23,123votes) – 97% critic’s approval – 94% critic’s approval


Special Features

-Deleted Scenes –

Not many, as you would expect, with these two classic actors.


The cast and crew talk to an assembled audience of fans.


NY Times –‘Rampling is a master at playing calculating, cold figures, hard, emotionless women who let nothing through their hard stare and locked expression. In 45 Years she lets the vulnerability show.’.

Salt Lake Tribune –‘Together with Haigh's unobtrusive direction, the stars make 45 Years one of the most honest and emotionally shattering movies about a marriage ever made’.

The Guardian –‘If Haigh's film relies on the quiet and subtle, there's no mistaking the atomized emotional destruction going on between the characters. In their echoing silence, there contains multitudes’.

The Mail –‘How many great movies could be written across the enigmatic, profound face of Charlotte Rampling? Hundreds? Thousands? At any rate, Andrew Haigh's 45 Years is one of them’.

San Francisco Times –‘What's the big deal? How does an entire film come of this? There are satisfying answers to these questions, but to state them would be to ruin a perfectly good movie’.

Toronto Star –‘Both actors deliver a master class in expression by understatement. The most unsettling of ghosts, we are moved to realize, are the ones we try hardest to deny’.

The Times –‘Transcends the obvious and touches on deeper, sometimes unsettling realities about the complicated, messy ways we live and love’.


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Comments on this review

  • IzzyS published 26/08/2017
    Thorough review.
  • euphie published 18/08/2017
    e :o)
  • Mac83 published 17/08/2017
    E rev
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Product Information : 45 Years (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

Actor(s) (Last name, First name): Rampling, Charlotte

Actor(s): Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay, Geraldine James, Dolly Wells

Director(s): Andrew Haigh

DVD Region: DVD

Video Category: Feature Film

EAN: 5021866756301

Classification: 15 years and over

Production Year: 2015


Listed on Ciao since: 09/08/2017