45 YEARS – Review by Susan Granger

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Set in the rural Norfolk countryside, Andrew Heigh’s emotional drama revolves around a middle-class English couple who are preparing to celebrate their 45th anniversary when the arrival of a mysterious letter shakes the foundation of their seemingly idyllic marriage. Kate (Charlotte Rampling) and Geoff (Tom Courtenay) Mercer are stunned when an official dispatch from Switzerland informs Geoff that the body of his former German girlfriend, Katya, has been found. Read on…

Back in 1962, when Geoff and Katya were hiking in the Alps, Katya fell into a fissure in a glacier. Since they were pretending to be married, Geoff was officially listed as her next of kin and, as such, has been asked to identify Katya’s recently recovered, perfectly preserved corpse.

After receiving the disturbing news, Geoff becomes increasingly preoccupied with memories of Katya and, when questioned, he confesses he would have married Katya had she lived.

Noting, “I can hardly be cross with something that happened before we existed, can I?” emotionally strained, increasingly jealous Kate, nevertheless, feels compelled to search in the attic for Alpine photographs of Katya, one of which reveals that she was pregnant at the time of her death.

Significantly, Kate and Geoff are childless, devoted only to each other and their Alsatian dog Max.

Adapting “In Another Country” from David Constantine’s “Under the Dam” short-story collection, writer-director Andrew Heigh once again explores the naturalistic complexities of intimacy, as he did in “Weekend” (2011), which he considers a thematic companion piece.

While several poignant songs, like The Platters’ “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” evoke nostalgic memories, there is no musical score.

Basically, this is an exquisite tour-de-force by two of the finest actors in British cinema: 68 year-old Charlotte Rampling (“Stardust Memories,” “The Verdict”) and 77 year-old Tom Courtenay (“Quartet,” “The Dresser”). Rampling has never received an Oscar nomination – and she certainly deserves one for this performance, as does Courtenay.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “45 Years” is a compassionate, elegant 8, subtly delineating a devastating drama.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.