Thursday, January 28, 2016

45 Years (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

“45 Years” Is Not-So-Happy Anniversary
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

I still remember Charlotte Rampling in full bondage gear cracking a whip at Dirk Bogarde in that 1974 Nazisploitation film, “The Night Porter.” What a sense of youth and danger. Now more than forty years have passed and we find her and Tom Courtney playing a “comfortably off, left-wing, childless, provincial couple” about to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary.

What a contrast.

Charlotte Rampling is more than up for the task. Both she and Tom Courtney won the Silver Bear Best Acting Awards at the Berlin Film Festival. And she’s up for Best Actress at the upcoming 88th Academy Awards.

“45 Years” is showing this week at the Tropic Cinema.

At first, the film seems to be a tale of domestic tranquility. The Mercers had postponed their 40th anniversary party when Geoff underwent bypass surgery, so this upcoming 45th should be a satisfying milestone.

However, all that changes in an instance, when Geoff learns that the perfectly preserved body of his long-ago girlfriend Katya has been discovered in a crevasse in the Swiss Alps. This is disturbing news for his wife. She can “smell Katya's perfume in the room,” a reminder of her husband’s previous love. It’s difficult to have this specter invade their serene life of 45 years together.

“Kate is now going to go through quite a dramatic time and not really know why the hell she’s going through it either. But it’s pressed buttons, old stories that she hasn’t resolved or whatever -- we’re not going to get into it and psychoanalyze -- but it’s about why suddenly we are, you know, overcome with fears and anxieties that we have no idea where they come from.”

The message: Unresolved issues linger for years and years.

Charlotte Rampling throws herself into the role. “If the story demands a woman who actually has lived with a man 45 years and really loves him, well, I’m gonna be that woman,” she says. “I’m gonna be that person.”

When asked if she thought there could be a 50th anniversary for Kate and Geoff, Charlotte Rampling hesitates. “I really don’t know. I’m thinking about it a lot, obviously, because that question comes up a lot. But I don’t know. I sort of don’t think so.”

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