Wednesday, February 17, 2016

"45 Years": an elderly couple's passion is disrupted by the distractions of memories of youth

45 Years”, directed by Andrew Haigh, based on a short story (“In Another Country”) by David Constantine, about an old-age married couple (in Norfolk, England) dealing with memories of youth that cold prove disruptive to the intimacies in the relationship.

Tom Courtenay (a young man in “Dr. Zhivago”), as Geoff Mercer, and Charlotte Rampling, as Kate, are a childless couple approaching their 45th wedding anniversary.  We learn that they had missed a 40th anniversary party because Geoff had a medical emergency, which we later deduce was coronary bypass surgery by seeing the huge scar on his hairless chest. The couple has remained passionate, however, until Geoff learns of the discovery of the body, frozen in youth, of a former girl friend, who had fallen in a winter accident while skiing or hiking in Switzerland (maybe an avalanche). Kate fears that Geoff will be caught up in the fantasies of seeing the looks of a younger woman.

Indeed, the “family values” debate sometimes runs around the fear that “traditional marriages” will not form and sustain themselves (especially when there are children to raise) in a culture that values youth and lookism so much.  There is no reason why this couldn’t be a concern in the same-sex marriage world now. But unattached older singles who refuse to consider possible mates “within their range” could be perceived as a disruptive social problem.

The film never leaves the fuzzy English countryside.  I was expecting a flashback, but all of that was verbal.

The official site is here

I saw the film at the AMC Shirlington at the early show tonight before a light crowd. 

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