10 out of 10

Release Date: 28th August 2015

Director: Andrew Haigh (Weekend)

Cast: Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay, Geraldine James, David Sibley, Richard Cunningham and Dolly Wells

Writer: Andrew Haigh

Trailer: 45 YEARS

imagesWriter / Director Andrew Haigh could be the saviour of serious British cinema such is the success of this film and his last one Weekend. He makes films about ordinary people with stories of routines and comfort thrown into disarray by a game changing event.  In this case Geoff (TOM COURTENAY – QUARTET) receives a letter informing him that the body of his first girlfriend has been found after she fell down a fissure in a Swiss glacier 50 years earlier.  Said communication arrives a week before his 45th anniversary of his marriage to his wife Kate (CHARLOTTE RAMPLING – ANGEL HEART) and they’re throwing a gigantic party. As Geoff is quietly shook to the core by this news, Kate tries to help him cope. Slowly but surely she begins to suspect that Geoff has been in love with the dead woman all along and that their marriage may be a cruel sham.

As with many couples that have been together for decades, a short hand develops and communications seem to run on a series of assumptions. Even direct confrontations are avoided in order to keep the peace and that’s what I liked about 45 Years. The film is packed with moments of quiet realisation and slow heartbreak, and it never loses sight of what is real. Both of the leads give exemplary performances and even though Geoff is no angel, anybody who still pines for a lost love will empathise with his pre-occupation with an unobtainable past. 45 Years almost works as a ghost story (but not in the broad sense) because the dead girl haunts Geoff’s every waking moment. He even buys her old perfume and looks at old slides of her in the attic. Everywhere she turns to look, even the past, reveals evidence unhitherto seen, that had been hidden in plain view all along. It’s a superb slow burn with an intriguing mystery at it’s centre.

Perfectly paced and acted, it’s full of small details. It’s a sad film that never strikes a false note and an icy reminder that we never ever know what’s going on in somebody else’s head even if we’ve been married to them for decades.

10 out of 10 – Sad, real and an emotional treat for those that thought original British cinema was dead.


  • Charlotte Rampling:  The Forbidden Room, Broadchurch (TV), Dexter (TV), Night Train To Lisbon, The Sea, Nymphomaniac, Eye of the Storm, I Anna, Cleanskin, Melancholia, Never Let Me Go, Streetdance, The Invisible Woman, The Duchess, Babylon AD, Basic Instinct 2, Swimming Pool, I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, Spy Game, Under The Sand, The Wings Of The Dove, Paris By Night, DOA (1987), Angel Heart, Max Mon Amour, The Verdict, Stardust Memories, Orca, Sherlock Holmes in New York (TV), Jackpot, Farewell My Lovely, Caravan to Vaccares, The Night Porter, Zardoz, Henry VIII and His Six Wives, Vanishing Point, Asylum, The Damned, Georgy Girl
  • Tom Courtenay:  Dad’s Army, The Legend of Barney Thomson, Night Train To Lisbon, Quartet, Gambit (2012), The Golden Compass, Flood, Nicholas Nickleby (2002), Last Orders, Whatever Happened To Harold Smith?, A Rather English Marriage (TV), The Boy From Mercury, Let Him Have It, The Dresser, Catch Me a Spy, One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich, A Dandy in Aspic, The Day the Fish Came Out, The Night of the Generals, Doctor Zhivago, King Rat, Operation Crossbow, King and Country, Billy Liar, Private Potter, The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner
  • Geraldine James: Alice In Wonderland 2, Robot Overlords, Diana, Utopia (TV), The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2012), Sherlock Holmes 2, Made In Dagenham, Arthur (2011), Alice In Wonderland (2010), Sherlock Holmes (2009), Calendar Girls, The Luzhin Defence, Band Of Gold (TV), The Man Who Knew Too Little, Moll Flanders (1996), The Bridge (1992), Teen Agent, The Tall Guy, The Wolves Of Willoughby Chase, Gandhi
  • David Sibley: The Sleeping Room
  • Richard Cunningham: Breakdown (2016)
  • Dolly Wells: Black Mountain Poets, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Benny & Jolene, Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy (TV), Dolly & Em (TV), Some Girls (TV), Spy (TV), Morvern Callar

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