Perhaps that’s what happens when you take a thought
and make a full-length film out of it. It’s been 45 blissful years for
childless couple Kate and Geoff. They live in the countryside, she walks big
Max every morning, Geoff’s getting on in years but they dance, they kiss and they
Until she finds him fumbling over news that’s come in
about Katya, an ex-girlfriend. Her body’s been found after 50 years, frozen in deep
snow, high up in the Swiss Alps. Geoff and Katya had been climbing the mountain
when she’d slipped and fallen to her death. Kate’s disturbed when she learns that
Geoff is considered Katya’s next of kin because they were once a couple.
Would Geoff have married Katya if there hadn’t been
the accident? Yes, he says, they would have got married. Kate feels betrayed
that he hadn’t told her about it all these years. The disquiet grows when she
learns he’s been making enquiries about going to Switzerland. And the attic
throws up slides and pictures Geoff has preserved of his old love. It includes
one that indicates Katya was pregnant when she had the accident.
The whole film lingers on Kate’s facial expressions of
dismay as she makes one discovery after the other. Geoff tries to work on their
marriage. A beautiful gift followed by an endearing speech made by Geoff at
their 45th celebration culminates in a leisurely picturised waltz to
the same song they’d danced to at their wedding. But Kate moves through it all
like she’s on auto pilot while myriad expressions continue to flit across her
I’d personally think that in today’s time, a past
relationship shouldn’t be such a big deal. And certainly not after 45 happy
years of marriage when the former girlfriend is long dead, leaving little room
for insecurity. On the other hand, one
understands it’s the thought that something so vital was kept from her all
these years that makes Kate feel cheated and wonder if she really knows the man
she’s been married to for so long.
Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay are comfortably
convincing as Kate and Geoffrey but Andrew Hague Haigh’s story and direction move
at a geriatric’s pace.
For a story that plays on an emotion but is not wildly
exciting for all ages, 45 Years gets
a 2.5* rating.
Reviewed bySenior Journalist & Author
Bharathi S Pradhan