45 Years Review

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As Kate (Rampling) and Geoff (Courtenay) enter the week of their 45th anniversary celebrations, a letter arrives. Inside it is news that threatens to shake their marriage to pieces.


The simple life of retired couple Kate (Rampling) and Geoff (Courtenay) is interrupted by a letter asking Geoff to travel to Switzerland to identify the body of his first girlfriend, who he knew before Kate. What could have turned into a melodramatic morass is, in writer-director Haigh’s hands, a brilliantly modulated character study of lives thrown off-kilter by a slowly expanding secret. Courtenay is terrific as a man given new purpose by an old love, matched toe-to-toe by Rampling as a woman struggling to decide whether her married life has been a sham. It’s a film made up of small moments but leaves you with huge rewards.

Full of restraint, from both its director and leads, this is a quiet gem with the power to move.