Kate Mercer (Charlotte Rampling) and her husband Geoff (Tom Courtenay) lead a serene life in a typically idyllic countryside town somewhere in England. Their lives are trundling along in a comfortable routine: She takes long walks in the country with their dog, he potters around the house fixing things. There is an easy camaraderie after four decades of marriage, which is shattered with the arrival of a letter five days before their big 45th anniversary party.

The letter contains information about Geoff’s lost love, Katya, who disappeared off a Swiss mountain in 1962, much before Geoff and Kate met. Now her body has been found, embalmed in ice, and her ghost begins to haunt this marriage. Skeletons come tumbling out of the attic.

Director Andrew Haigh’s film is about the big impact of little things. It is an adaptation of a short story, In Another Country, by David Constantine, and perhaps because of that, there is a sluggishness in its attempt at being contemplative as we turn the pages of the calendar from Monday to the final scene of the Saturday night anniversary party.

Haigh manages to make the mundane cinematic as the couple busy themselves with everyday chores and party preparations, attempting to temper the importance of this news and its deep ramifications. 45 Years is a complex story about infidelity, jealousy and ghosts, some of which are unearthed in an artistically executed attic scene where Kate learns the hardest truth.

Rampling and Courtenay display classic British stoicism even as Haigh stays loyal to Kate’s perspective, her angst and battle with rationalism and the rising fear that she may have been second best. If this dramatic piece holds your attention, it is because of Rampling’s ability to convey so much through her eyes and expressions, Courtenay’s understated performance providing her with the requisite cues.



45 Years released in theatres on Friday

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