Sunday, January 3, 2016
Indie Review: 45 Years (2015)
'45 Years' Certainly Doesn't Feel That Long
Thankfully, the title of the film doesn't suggest how long the movie feels because with his unofficial sequel to 2011's Weekend, director Andrew Haigh proves he can provide enticement from his viewers with simple conversation.
45 Years follows the story of Kate (Charlotte Rampling) who, when her husband (Tom Courtenay) tells her about of the death of an old flame, spends the week evaluating their 45-year marriage and the shadow his old flame has cast over it.
I'll start off with the lead performance by Charlotte Rampling. With a performance that could've easily been played with plate-smashing or crying loudly, Rampling goes for more restraint, letting her eyes be used as orbs to let us in her thought process. Once she hears about the deceased old flame, she tries to put on a brave and happy face for her husband, but she slowly loses that brave face. I also have to give a shoutout to Tom Courtenay. Even though the film is the Rampling show, Courtenay provides very grounded support as her husband, resulting in them having genuine and realistic chemistry.
Next, I'll get into the screenplay by Andrew Haigh. As I said earlier, Andrew Haigh is a master at providing enticement by demonstrating simple conversation. Much like in Weekend, the dialogue here doesn't feel like movie dialogue. Haigh also manages to craft a different kind of "marriage in crisis" film, in my opinion. Normally, "marriage in crisis" films involve death in the family or one half of the couple suffering a disability and whatnot. But here, we have an older, healthy couple in crisis by a sudden revelation and how it casts a large shadow over their lengthy marriage.
I also loved how Haigh used long tracking shots in certain scenes. One in particular that really struck me is when Kate is going through a series of slides up in the attic and the camera keeps focusing on Rampling's face and her puzzing reactions. Because of how the camera almost never leaves Rampling, we are able to feel her character's heartache as well as her other rampant feelings.
Overall, 45 Years is a beautifully restrained look at married life anchored by its subtle, master class performance by Charlotte Rampling and handled with great realism by writer/director Andrew Haigh.