45 Years15 Jan 2016
I’m reading Lauren Groff’s “Fates and Furies” currently and a passage I happened to read today said something like - “…somewhere along the way she had become a wife. And as we all know, wives are invisible.” This hit me like a ton of bricks. Later in the day I saw 45 Years and couldn’t stop thinking how marvelous this film was for turning an otherwise invisible wife, visible. Thanks to superb acting, an even keeled script and a director that smartly stayed out of the way, this film simmered for about 80 minutes, slowly building pressure, only to have one of the most understated but powerful finishes I’ve seen this year. I would hold this ending up against Phoenix as some of the best pay offs in cinema I saw this year.
Rampling’s performance has received praise and she deserves more. Her ability to carry this film without entirely stealing the show is in tune with the role wives have come to play in modern marriages. The choices this film makes, to focus on her character and take the viewer on her emotional journey is something I’d love to see more of in film. An equivalent film might have rendered the same character invisible or equally as visible as her husband. 45 Years focuses on Jeff, her husband, a few times, but swiftly returns to Kate.
I’ve been thinking about Haneke’s Amour since I first saw it in 2012. I haven’t had the courage to see it again because it devastated me on first viewing. Seeing 45 Years reminded me how much I got from that film. I may finally have the steel to go back for another watch. I’m guessing I will feel the same way about this film, thinking about it years from now.