Cracking Up

That’s how Rampling describes it – as ‘cracking up’. Charlotte R is ruminating on her latest filmatic venture to be released here. In it a long standing wife is trying to hold it all together. Her husband is not always there in the present for her. But hold it together she does – well almost. Right at the end, maybe she has finally lost it.

45 years

We first meet Kate when she is out walking her beloved dog, Tessa, on the Broads where she resides with hubby of forty-five years, Geoff (Tom Courtney). She’s planning a big village bash to celebrate that anniversary as the one for the fortieth had to be postponed due to his health. Although he hasn’t been quite the same since, Geoff now seems robust enough for an event of that nature, if not overly enthusiastic about it all. He’s grizzled, dishevelled and very vague, but has promised to make an effort for the occasion. It’s been a childless marriage but contented enough. The childlessness, though, comes back to haunt when Geoff receives a letter from Switzerland.. It knocks Kate’s husband for six – he becomes mentally all over the shop, far worse than normal and Kate is determined to get to the bottom of why that should be so.

As the days head towards their weekend celebration the letter starts to dominate proceedings and not in a positive way. As Kate delves deeper the solid core of her relationship is shattered by what she finds.


The film counts down the days as it becomes obvious that the climax of the piece will occur at the event now neither really wants to take place, but it is too late to back out. Although all is far from well in their idyll on the Broads, they both try to put a smile on their dial as they face a multitude of friends. Knowing the background, it is not easy to watch and by the time ‘Smoke Gets in Your Eyes’ rolls onto the turntable Kate has reached crisis point.

Rampling won a Silver Bear at last year’s Berlin Film Festival for her performance as Kate. The veteran actress herself was coming out of a period of grief after the death of her own husband of seventeen years. Her counter to this was to continue working, including on this vehicle. She delivers a bravura performance, but for this viewer it was the equally venerable Tom Courtney’s nailing of the befuddled, rudderless Geoff that really stood out in what is essentially a two-hander. In Geoff, am I seeing a future not too far away now?

’45 Years’ continues the recent trend of the makers of movies waking up to the fact that, in greydom, there is a whole demographic, largely ignored in the past, still enamoured with actually going to the cinema. That is, as long as what they see is not kidnapped by CGI, superheroes and ear-drum splitting din. That many recent releases of a more subtle nature reflect their own stage in life is a bonus. This particular effort is also the antithesis of the light-hearted and fluffy fare also catering to this scribbler’s age group. Delightful as many of these are, ’45 Years’ is more cerebral. You could do worse than spend an hour and a half in Kate and Geoff’s company receiving a reality check.

’45 Years’ Trailer =

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