Depiction of something as banal, blasé and bourgeois as a seemingly successful marriage shaken to the core, and even shattered, by complex undercurrents – or, ‘crisis in relationship’ as one may classify it – can make for terrific cinema. Though it’s tough to surpass Bergman, Antonioni, Woody, Cassavetes, Farhadi, Rohmer, etc. on this theme, one can still expect to be left impressed by British filmmaker Andrew Haigh’s exquisitely chiseled and emotionally charged marital drama 45 Years. The ageing Mercers – Kate (Charlotte Rampling) and Geoff (Tom Courtenay) – are the ideal picture of a long, happy marriage; well-read, comfortably-off and contented in their space, their relationship is a perfect counterfoil to the serene Norfolk environ surrounding them. They’re also 5 days away from celebrating on a grand scale – tad unlike their unpretentious natures – their 45th wedding anniversary. The delicate status quo, however, is unsettled by an innocuous letter informing Geoff that Katya, his fiancée from half-a-century back, who’d died in the Swiss Alps in the summer of ’62, has been found due to a thaw in the snow. Geoff, through this unforeseen blast from his half-forgotten past, becomes erratic and reckless – he resumes smoking, attempts rekindles his former preferences, starts getting irritated by the hypocrisy in their friends, and even considers planning a trip to Switzerland; Kate, despite being an unflappable, prosaic and level-headed person, is profoundly ruffled, unraveling a rare vulnerability, by this sudden appearance of Katya’s ghost; more so, when she realizes while going through Geoff’s stashed boxes – something which is contradictory to her nature – that she might have been pregnant when she’d died. Rampling gave a stunning turn in particular as we see their heartwarming marriage on a potentially tragic freefall.
Director: Andrew Haigh
Genre: Drama/Marital Drama/Romantic Drama