I’d like to be able to tell you everything I’m thinking. But I can’t.
45 Years is a small, quiet movie, but it’s deeply emotional and occasionally absolutely devastating. It’s anchored by brilliant performances by Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay in the lead roles. Rampling deservedly got a lot of press, but Courtenay is also exceptional, though his role is somewhat less complicated. They play a couple preparing for their 45th wedding anniversary party on Saturday, but on Monday, news arrives that dredges up old memories and old wounds. It’s a really wonderful, understated film. This isn’t a movie that’s going to give you huge dramatic moments, but it feels absolute real at all times, almost like a documentary about this aged couple and the pains and sorrows that time hasn’t really blunted. There are scenes here that are really astoundingly great. Rampling has a scene in the cramped attic of their house that’s as fine a bit of acting as anything I saw in 2015. I won’t spoil the final scene; fair warning, though, the trailer does! But anyway, the final lengthy sequence is a painful, heart-wrenching scene. The ending is decidedly ambiguous and, frankly, pretty haunting. The final shot is a long take, done very artfully and when the camera does that final zoom, it’s . . . well, it’s nothing short of beautiful. 45 Years isn’t a movie for the “wham-bam-pow” crowd, but it’s a deeply moving and evocative film, a tiny, ivory-etched masterpiece, perfect in every detail, powerful in overall impact. 4 stars.
tl;dr – Rampling and Courtenay are good beyond words as a married couple facing turmoil and sorrow; slow, methodical, beautiful with a cumulative impact that sticks with the viewer. 4 stars.