I made a real effort to watch all of the Oscars Best Picture nominated movies this year, and I did much better than last year, working my way through all of them but Bridge of Spies. Embarrassingly though, at the time of writing this, I’m not even halfway through watching all of the Best Actress nominated movies. That’s something I’m trying to change! Why I started with 45 Years though, I’ll never understand. I like moving out of my comfort zone…
In 45 Years (2015), Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay play married couple Kate and Geoff, married for almost 45 years, funnily enough. Their 45th anniversary, and a huge party is looming, but when Geoff receives a letter on Monday morning with some difficult news to take, their relationship becomes terribly strained.
Kate and Geoff live a seemingly wonderful life. Retired, living in a huge detached house seemingly in the middle of nowhere in the UK, with their dog Max. Now, we all enjoy movies when we can relate to at least one of the characters, don’t we? So why I, a not yet married woman in her twenties thought I would enjoy this movie, I don’t know. But the weirdest thing was...I really did!
If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay were married in real life. They just bounce off each other so well and it’s so effortless. Although only Charlotte Rampling got an Oscar nomination, I thought Tom Courtenay was just as fantastic, especially during his speech at the party.
45 Years is such a small, quiet movie I think it’s better to watch it not knowing anything about the plot. Indeed, if someone told me they found it completely boring, I’d have a hard time trying to convince them otherwise, but my fascination was with Kate and Geoff themselves, and how they were going to work through the problems that this letter has brought. It’s a desperately sad story where there are no bad guys, no one in the wrong.
Just as Saturday rolled along, my heart swelled at the visible change in Geoff. His speech actually made me cry at the end, which I wasn’t expecting, and I thought it was so sweet that they danced to their wedding song from 45 years ago. But then Kate’s face changed, and the credits rolled, and I found myself completely confused. And then I looked up the lyrics to Smoke Gets In Your Eyes. Utter heartbreak. That’s what I felt.