Andrew Haigh’s bittersweet British drama/romance 45 Years (B) continues the talented director’s intimate character studies into complex people, examining their public and private lives with sophisticated perception. Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay give outstanding late-career performances as a couple grappling with a relationship-altering revelation the week before they partake in a milestone party celebrating their marriage. Deliberately paced and quietly observed, the film ponders the “what if” of what could have happened if a loving couple had followed different parallel paths. Rampling is particularly marvelous as a woman coming to grips with demons of the past that could jeopardize legacy and the very nature of her near-half century love affair. Tiny details simmer to the surface in this slow-burn melodrama that mostly sidesteps conventions. The film is small in scale but big on ideas and will reward intellectual film-goers in search of meaningful stories.
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