“45 years” is a dramatic love story of a very long term marriage. Just before their 45 year anniversary the body of the husband’s former partner is found after her death fifty years before. It turns out that he (Geoff) wasn’t entirely honest with his wife (Kate), who becomes increasingly jealous of her husband’s old flame she knew so little about. Will the skeleton in the closet change the way in which they look at each other?
The film is a very slow-paced drama. There’s not much happening as such, it focuses on the interactions and emotions between the main characters. Kate and Geoff seem happy together at first but the new situation creates (or possibly magnifies) tensions. The audience wonders whether there were pre-existing conflicts or whether the marriage was almost perfect but the late lover introduces the disagreements. We also have no way of knowing whether Kate questioned her relationship before or only after the mystery appeared in their life.
Charlotte Rampling was nominated for the Academy Award for her performance as Kate and it was a well-deserved nomination. With such minimalistic plot the actors have to be geniuses to make the movie interesting. I think many women can relate to Kate in the way she obsesses about the former partner. Each of us dated, at least once, someone who was pining for his ex and was wondering whether if she came back running he would have rather had her not us. Most relationships of that sort don’t survive but in the case of a dead partner, there technically should be nothing that worries us. And yet humans are jealous creatures. The thought that one’s partner would have rather spent their lifetime with someone else and that one was the second best choice must be rather unsettling for a person who spent her whole life in a committed relationship with someone.
I enjoyed the movie but to watch it, one should be prepared to focus. The meaning of the movie is hidden in the dialogues between character, in seemingly meaningless scenes and behaviours. It’s not what Hollywood and mainstream cinema has usually on offer. If you find emotions on the screen “lame” and you require constant action rather give this movie a pass. It’s a drama that may bore us a little bit but it certainly is thought-provoking. The acting is very impressive and it’s nice to see someone who’s over 40 on the screen.