Surprisingly this year I am far more caught up on Oscar nominated films than the years prior. Of the major categories, I am only missing two films, Trumbo and of course 45 Years for Best Actor and Best Actress.
Best Actress and Supporting Actress are almost always weaker categories for me. And so, damn it, I swore I would see 45 Years before Trumbo. The only sad part about that is thanks to release dates, my review of 45 Years will still come out after Trumbo, but I did see 45 Years first!
I am a bit excited about 45 Years because I only ever heard of it when it was announced as a nominee! I love surprises! Except for surprise parties. No one likes those.
Surprise love letters are also frowned upon.
45 Years is about three people, but only two of which have a person playing them.
Kate Mercer (Charlotte Rampling) and her husband, Geoff Mercer (Tom Courtenay) have been married a long time. Specifically, 45 years! They have no kids and mostly live by themselves in a loving marriage. They planned on having a big party for their 40th Anniversary, but a surgery came up and wrecked their plans. So instead they are going all out for 45. After all, they don’t know if they can make it to the next milestone
But then Geoff received some news. They discovered Katya’s body. Katya was Geoff’s girlfriend before Kate and she died 50 years ago. It involved mountain climbing and she fell off into a river or mountain or something. It was very tragic, but her body has finally been found and it is perfectly preserved.
That is weird and strange. It has been so long and it was so tragic, but Geoff has mostly forgotten about her. Obviously Kate never knew her, but she really doesn’t want to know her either. This is the week before their big party and they should be taking it easy and planning. But now Geoff wants to go and see the body for closure, at his age despite his health.
And that is only the first problem that comes up. Kate is noticing a change in her relationship and Geoff’s behavior over this knowledge, one that makes her feel like second fiddle despite their many many years together.
Time for awkward old people talk.
Shit, is he friend zoning her?!
Movies about old people are weird for me. I am still a relatively young adult male and so I haven’t necessarily had enough adult experiences to relate to everything. The passing of family and loved ones, for instance, is one thankfully I have yet to experience.
This one is still a bit different. This is about a death before a marriage occurred. Before the couple even met. And something that normally wouldn’t come up again so much later in life, but a missing body brings it to the for front. It is a unique occurrence and one that rarely anyone would ever experience
Thankfully, the two actors here do a phenomenal job together conveying years of anguish and loss over these events, almost entirely through their facial expressions and tone of voice. This isn’t a dialogue heavy film. It is a strict drama and it is slow (painfully at times).
If you want to see 45 Years, you will want to see it for its great, subtle and realistic acting. But as I just mentioned, it is slow and I question how much of some of the middle parts ended up being relevant to the plot. I can’t just watch a movie of people being old and sad. I do need changes to occur and plot to develop a bit more than what ends up happening.
The final scenes in the anniversary party are good though. Some long scenes of just straight up speeches and acting and it stays incredibly sad. Not a film I would ever want to watch again. But still sad and if it wasn’t such a stacked year for Best Actors, Courtenay probably would have been nominated too.