A touching, Human Drama-with some new and deserved controversy
Charlotte Rampling, why do you have to be racist? She has hardly ever been in the spotlight because she has made her living as an actress overseas, but she is certainly not using her new found spotlight for good. Not 5 minutes after finishing this film, I saw she was trending on social media because she said the boycott against the Oscars by stars like Will Smith and Spike Lee was racist against whites. Wow. Don't believe me? Here. Proof. You know what's really ironic, though? Rampling herself does not deserve to be on the list for Best Actress. She's on it because she is a great actress who's been in the business since the 60's (internationally) and has never been nominated for an Oscar. Is she great here? Yes. She's easily the best part of the film. This is a very down-to-earth performance from her and she's excellent. As she always is! I've seen a few other films with her in it and she's always excellent. But is this performance better than Charlize Theron's in Mad Max? Is she better than Rooney Mara in Carol? (Who should be in the Best Actress category.) Is she better than freaking Daisey Ridley in that Star Wars film no one saw? ......No. No she is not. She was a legacy pick by the Academy if there ever was one, and yet she has the nerve to say boycotting the Oscars is racist against whites? You cannot tell me she would've been nominated had she been an African American. Not a snowball's chance in hell. So there's some irony for ya. Anyway, now that I've gotten that off my chest, how was 45 Years? Well, it was.....good.
45 Years is a different film. And different is good in this case. It doesn't try to have a grand message. It's not a tale about morality. It's not trying to tell an important story. It is simply a film about a couple who have been married for 45 years and are experiencing some turbulence. That's it. That's all it is. Obviously, this film is not for everyone, but if you're looking for a very real and grounded romantic drama you cannot go wrong with 45 Years. And the story delivers some great moments.... and it even had some twists that I did not see coming. The acting was great by both Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay, and they needed to deliver since they are basically the only two people in this 95 minute film. Geraldine James makes an appearance, but most of the film it's just them. And they're great! But is that enough for most people? No. From a technical standpoint, this film is more like a play than anything else. Actually that's exactly what this film is. It's an on-screen play. A good one, for that matter, but if you don't get invested in these two people you aren't even going to be able to finish this short film.
That said, it's pretty hard not to get invested in this drama, which is why the film is as good as it is. Basically, you have a very grounded film featuring two very grounded performances from its leads. It's short, as I said, but you could say it covered a lot of.....ground in its 95 minutes. (I'll see myself out in just a minute.) But ultimately, I did enjoy myself. I just don't really have a lot to talk about with this film. There are certainly faults with the story as some of the twists that we encounter....well, we encounter them and then they are never brought up again. And, of course, the film is very bland from a technical standpoint. But then again how many plays do you go out to see and expect explosions, great editing, or great CGI? I mean, I guess you can expect great costumes and makeup, (which, by the way, those departments are just fine and nothing more in this film) but that's about it. Well, and a great set to. All I can say about the set in 45 Years is it's a very pretty house, and they at least bothered to make the town they live by populated with extras, but I think it's safe to say we should expect that in films by now. But combine that with very subdued cinematography, and you have a film that rides solely on the performances of its two leads. Which it certainly does. However, it's hard to think of a reason why you would see 45 Years other than to cross it off the Oscar checklist, but I guess I will say this is a great film to watch with your parents, or a significant other you've been dating for years when you're trapped inside because of snow. Other than that? Watch the other performances the Academy nominated, because those actors and actresses really deserve it. (Well, most of them-looking at you Bryan Cranston....)
The Critique: While its appeal is limited, 45 Years is a simple and well-executed drama featuring great performances from its leads.
The Recommendation: A great film to watch with your parents or significant other with a bottle of wine. Definitely not one to bring the party over for though.
Rewatchability: Moderately Low
The Verdict: 7/10 Good.