Thursday, January 28, 2016

45 Years [2015]

MPAA (R)  CNS/USCCB ()  ChicagoTribune (4 Stars) (4 Stars)  AVClub (A)  Fr. Dennis (1 1/2 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB () review
ChicagoTribune (M. Phillips) review (S. Wloszczyna) review
AVClub (A.A. Dowd) review  

45 Years [2015] (directed and screen adaptation by Andrew Haigh of the short story by David Constantine [wikip] [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] [IMDb]) is something of an "old folks" horror story (and IMHO as "unbelievable" as one with real "ghosts").

Set somewhere in rural / "at the edge of the suburbs" England, Kate and Geoffrey Mercer (played by Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay respectively) are getting set to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary.   Well, actually Kate is doing most of the work, Geoffrey's is already a bit "out of it" with some (still thankfully moderate) dementia.  Indeed, we're informed in the course of the dialogue that the reason why they are celebrating their 45th anniversary is because Geoffrey had some significant health issues when their 40th anniversary was coming around and it seemed pretty clear that Geoffrey in particular would probably not make it to their 50th.

Further, both having been quite the "left-leaning intellectuals" in their day, it's not altogether surprising that there would be no children or grandchildren.   Perhaps more surprising would be that there were no siblings or family of any sort present to help plan the date or really present at all.

This becomes significant because as poor Kate is busy planning this "big day" for them and their friends, quite RANDOMLY Geoffrey comes across a news story that the body of a seemingly RANDOM woman had been found at the base of some glacier (they're melting away) somewhere in the Swiss Alps and it turns out that HE KNEW HER. 

Now why would he know her?  Well, the two had been lovers -- before Kate -- and he had been present when she apparently _fell into a crevasse_ in a glacier up there in the Swiss Alps, disappeared therefore and her body had been unreachable, up until apparently today ...

Why would that be a concern to Geoffrey now?  Well, as the story unfolds it becomes increasingly clear that this woman, whose body had been trapped / frozen for over 45 years in that glacier, had been very important to Geoffrey, again BEFORE Kate, and MORE IMPORTANTLY KATE HAD NOT EVEN KNOWN ABOUT HER ... until NOW ... as she's planning this 45th anniversary party, probably THE LAST big party that the two of them were going to attend / remember together.

Now how is it possible that Kate would not have known about this lost previous love of her husband (of 45 years)??  

This is what I find _so unbelievable_ about this film, and why despite much acclaim by most movie critics (see above) I'm decidedly "less impressed."  I find it hard to believe that NEITHER Kate nor Geoffrey would have ANY FAMILY to speak of, or that Geoffrey would not have had FRIENDS that Kate would have inevitably met / gotten to know EVEN BEFORE GETTING MARRIED, who would have INEVITABLY MENTIONED this woman / flame of Geoffrey's past, even to say: "I'm so happy that Geoffrey found you Kate.  He was such a wreck after <so and so> died so tragically up there in the Alps ..."   

That this conversation had apparently NOT happened _even before_ Kate and Geoffrey had gotten married I find utterly unbelievable.  Further, trying to envision scenarios in which it becomes plausible that this conversation did not happen -- both Kate and Geoffrey hated their families, EVERYONE in their families and Geoffrey HAD NO FRIENDS AT ALL 'cept that woman who died somehow in those mountains and then Kate sometime afterwards -- makes me not exactly like either of the principal characters in this story.

So while I suppose that it's possible that a somewhat "elitist" liberal couple could fill a banquet hall with (retiring / retired) friends (but no family from either side) to celebrate their 45th anniversary ... I'm almost certain that I'd probably NOT like them much to begin with, and probably would roll-my-eyes with not particularly great surprise at learning that there proved to be "secrets" present (even to this day) between the two of them.

Sorry I'm not impressed here, not much impressed at all.

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