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Review: 45 Years

British director Andrew Haigh is perhaps best known as executive producer (and sometime director) of the short lived HBO television series Looking, but that’s all about to change. His third feature film 45 Years won accolades at the Berlin International Film Festival and will undoubtedly start gaining awards buzz when it plays at Telluride and then TIFF.

Loosely adapted from author David Constantine’s In Another Country, 45 Years is an unflinching, unsentimental take on how a long buried secret can quickly unravel a satisfying marriage.

Quiet and introspective Geoff (played by the legendary Tom Courtenay) receives a letter on an otherwise ordinary day informing him that his ex-fiancee Katya’s cadaver has been discovered due to melting glaciers. He reveals to his loving wife Kate (Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling in a heartbreaking performance) that Katya had died over fifty years earlier on a mountain climbing expedition and had named Geoff as her next of kin. Flashes of jealousy, intrigue, and hurt briefly appear on Kate’s face (hidden to oblivious Geoff), but are quickly replaced with compassion for her husband.

The letter arrives on a Monday and as the days tick by towards Saturday (the date of their 45th wedding anniversary festivities) Kate slowly uncovers a mountain of secrets Geoff has hidden from her about his undying devotion to Katya, leaving Kate to question the sanctity of her formerly solid marriage.

Masterclass performances are given by both Rampling and Courtenay, each magnificent at expressing a range of emotions without uttering a word.

Couples, watch at your own peril.

[star v=45]

Leora Heilbronn

Leora Heilbronn is a Toronto based film aficionado who has a weakness for musicals and violent action flicks. She can often be spotted reading a wide range of literature or listening to show tunes.