45 Years

45 Years

Film poster
Directed by Andrew Haigh
Produced by Tristan Goligher
Screenplay by Andrew Haigh
Based on In Another Country
by David Constantine
Cinematography Lol Crawley
Edited by Jonathan Alberts
The Bureau
Distributed by Artificial Eye
Release dates
  • 6 February 2015 (2015-02-06) (Berlin)
  • 28 August 2015 (2015-08-28) (UK)
Running time
95 minutes[1]
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Box office $13.9 million[2]

45 Years is a 2015 British romantic drama film directed and written by Andrew Haigh. The film is based on the short story "In Another Country" by David Constantine.[3] The film was screened in the main competition section of the 65th Berlin International Film Festival.[4] Charlotte Rampling won the Silver Bear for Best Actress and Tom Courtenay won the Silver Bear for Best Actor.[5] At the 88th Academy Awards, Rampling received a nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role.[6]

It was selected to be screened in the Special Presentations section of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival and also screened at the 2015 Telluride Festival.[7] It was released in the United Kingdom on 28 August 2015. The film was released in the United States by Sundance Selects on 23 December 2015.[8]


The film takes place across six days, marked by intertitles.

Five years after retirees Kate and Geoff Mercer had to cancel their 40th wedding anniversary because of his heart bypass surgery, the comfortably-off, childless, Norfolk couple are now planning to celebrate their 45th anniversary with dozens of friends at the Assembly House in Norwich.

A week before the party, Geoff receives a letter from Switzerland telling him that the body of Katya, his lover in the early 1960s, has become visible in a melting glacier where she fell into a crevasse on their hike with a guide over five decades ago. Memories rush back to him and he realizes he has forgotten much of what little German he used to know and that he would need a dictionary to fully understand all that the letter says.

Kate has known about Katya since the time Geoff and Kate met later in the 1960s and is initially unconcerned by Geoff's controlled disquiet. "I can hardly be cross about something that happened before we even existed..." she says, but after a pause adds "Still...".

The next day Kate helps Geoff find his old German-English dictionary. Soon, Geoff's conduct begins to show that there is more on his mind than he says. Among other things, he tries to keep from Kate that he is beginning to take steps to fly to Switzerland without her to see Katya's body, which he imagines preserved in the now-transparent ice, still looking youthful.

Prodded by Kate, Geoff talks about his relationship with Katya and thoughts evoked by the discovery of her body. He tells Kate that he and Katya had pretended to be married in order to be able to share a room in the more puritanical early 1960s. Because of this, the Swiss authorities consider him to be Katya's next of kin. Kate is troubled by the revelation.

As the days pass and preparations for the party continue, Geoff continues to be moody and takes up smoking, which both had given up in the past. One night, Geoff climbs into the attic to look at his memorabilia of Katya and only reluctantly shows Kate a picture of Katya when she insists. Kate starts to ponder all of her life with Geoff and their possibly rebound relationship, and even begins "to smell Katya's perfume" in every room.

While Geoff is attending a reunion luncheon at the plant from which he retired, Kate, neglecting their dog's jittery barking at the ladder, climbs up into the attic to see what things her husband may be keeping there. She finds Geoff's scrapbook filled with memorabilia from his life with Katya, including pressed flowers from their last hike. And then she finds a carousel slide projector, loaded with images of Switzerland and Katya, next to a makeshift screen to view them. One slide shows Katya with her hand on top of her protruding abdomen, indicating Katya was pregnant at the time of her death.

Kate takes up smoking again, too, and confronts Geoff about his feelings for Katya without revealing what she saw in the attic. Geoff promises that their marriage will "start again," which he begins by bringing her tea to bed and making breakfast for her the next morning.

They attend their anniversary party in the historical Grand Hall. Kate is constrained, distracted, and remains impassive during Geoff's speech in which he professes his love for Kate, while saying "the choices we make in our youth are most important" and bringing himself to tears, just as Kate's friend Lena has predicted men always do at weddings and anniversaries. Geoff and Kate dance, but she moves rigidly in his embrace. As they dance, after initially being sober and serious, Geoff begins to become more playful. As the dance ends, Geoff raises their hands together in the air. Kate yanks her arm down after a few seconds and Geoff, apparently oblivious, dances away. The final close-up isolates Kate amid the crush of people on the dance floor as mixed emotions play across her face.


Critical response

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports a 97% approval rating with an average rating of 8.7/10, based on 155 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads, "45 Years offers richly thought-provoking rewards for fans of adult cinema – and a mesmerizing acting showcase for leads Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay."[9] On Metacritic, it has a score of 94 out of 100 based on 36 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim."[10]

Mark Kermode, writing in The Observer, described the film as a "subtle examination of the persistence of the past and the fragile (in)stability of the present", arguing that the lead performances "turn an apparently everyday story of a marriage in quiet crisis into something rather extraordinary." He concludes the review by observing "Like the final shot of The Long Good Friday, which lingers upon Bob Hoskins’s face as he revisits the events that brought him to this sorry pass, 45 Years shows us the past materialising in the expressions of those trapped in the present, staring into an uncertain future."[11]


Award / Film Festival Category Recipients and nominees Result
Academy Awards[6] Best Actress Charlotte Rampling Nominated
Berlin International Film Festival[5] Best Actor Tom Courtenay Won
Best Actress Charlotte Rampling Won
Golden Bear Andrew Haigh Nominated
British Academy Film Awards[12] Outstanding British Film 45 Years Nominated
British Independent Film Awards[13] Best British Independent Film 45 Years Nominated
Best Director Andrew Haigh Nominated
Best Actress Charlotte Rampling Nominated
Best Actor Tom Courtenay Nominated
Best Screenplay Andrew Haigh Nominated
Producer of the Year Tristan Goligher Nominated
Boston Society of Film Critics[14] Best Actress Charlotte Rampling Won
Chicago Film Critics Association[15] Best Actress Charlotte Rampling Nominated
Critics' Choice Awards[16] Best Actress Charlotte Rampling Nominated
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association[17] Best Actress Charlotte Rampling 4th Place
David di Donatello[18] Best European Film 45 Years Nominated
Dorian Awards[19] Performance Of The Year — Actress Charlotte Rampling Nominated
Dublin Film Critics' Circle[20] Best Actor Tom Courtenay 4th Place
Edinburgh International Film Festival[21] Best Performance in a British Feature Film Charlotte Rampling Won
Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film Andrew Haigh Won
Empire Awards[22] Best British Film 45 Years Nominated
European Film Awards[23] Best European Actor Tom Courtenay Nominated
Best European Actress Charlotte Rampling Won
Best European Screenwriter Andrew Haigh Nominated
Evening Standard British Film Awards[24][25] Best Film 45 Years Nominated
Best Actor Tom Courtenay Nominated
Best Actress Charlotte Rampling Nominated
Editor's Award 45 Years Won
Florida Film Critics Circle[26] Best Actress Charlotte Rampling Runner-up
Indiewire Critics Poll[27] Best Lead Actress Charlotte Rampling Won
Best Lead Actor Tom Courtenay 5th Place
Irish Film & Television Awards[28] Best International Actress Charlotte Rampling Nominated
London Film Critics' Circle[29] Film of the Year 45 Years Nominated
British / Irish Film of the Year 45 Years Won
Director of the Year Andrew Haigh Nominated
Actress of the Year Charlotte Rampling Won
Actor of the Year Tom Courtenay Won
British / Irish Actress of the Year Charlotte Rampling Nominated
Los Angeles Film Critics Association[30] Best Actress Charlotte Rampling Won
National Board of Review[31] Top Ten Independent Films 45 Years Won
National Society of Film Critics[32] Best Actress Charlotte Rampling Won
New York Film Critics Online[33] Top 10 Films 45 Years Won
Online Film Critics Society[34] Best Actress Charlotte Rampling Nominated
San Diego Film Critics Society[35] Best Actress Charlotte Rampling Nominated
San Francisco Film Critics Circle[36] Best Actress Charlotte Rampling Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Andrew Haigh Nominated
Valladolid Film Festival[37] Best Actress Charlotte Rampling Won


  1. "45 Years (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 24 June 2015. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  2. "45 Years (2015)". The Numbers. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  3. Gant, Charles (6 February 2015). "Berlin Film Review: '45 Years'". Variety. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  4. "Berlinale 2015: Malick, Dresen, Greenaway and German in Competition". Berlinale. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
  5. 1 2 "Prizes of the International Jury". Berlinale. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  6. 1 2 "Oscar Nominations: The Complete List". The Hollywood Reporter. 14 January 2016.
  7. "Sandra Bullock's 'Our Brand Is Crisis,' Robert Redford's 'Truth' to Premiere at Toronto". Variety. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  8. "45 Years". IFC Films. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  9. "45 Years (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  10. "45 Years". Metacritic. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  11. Kermode, Mark (30 August 2015). "45 Years review – a very stylish marriage". Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  12. "Baftas 2016: full list of nominations". The Guardian. 8 January 2016.
  13. "The Lobster on a roll with seven British independent film awards nominations". The Guardian. 3 November 2015.
  14. "'Spotlight' Named Best Film of 2015 by Boston Society of Film Critics". Variety. 6 December 2015.
  15. ""Mad Max: Fury Road" Leads The Race For 2015 CFCA Awards". Chicago Film Critics Association. 14 December 2015.
  16. "Critics' Choice Awards Mad For 'Max' But Produces Few Shockers In First Combined Nominations For TV & Film". Deadline. 14 December 2015.
  17. "Dallas-fort Worth Film Critics Name "Spotlight" Best Picture Of 2015". Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association. 14 December 2015.
  18. "Film dell'unione europea". David di Donatello.
  19. "'Carol' Earns Multiple Mentions as Dorian Award Nominees Are Unveiled". The Hollywood Reporter. 12 January 2016.
  20. "2015 Dublin Film Critics Circle Awards Announced". entertainment.ie. 22 December 2015.
  21. "45 Years scoops Edinburgh film festival's top award". The Guardian.
  22. "Empire Awards nominations 2016: Mad Max and Star Wars lead the pack as Leonardo DiCaprio nominated for Best Actor". London Evening Standard. 18 February 2016.
  23. "'Youth,' 'The Lobster' Lead European Film Award Nominations". Variety. 7 November 2015.
  24. "Evening Standard British Film Awards: The longlist". London Evening Standard. 22 December 2015.
  25. "Evening Standard British Film Awards 2016: Idris Elba and Dame Maggie Smith lead list of winners". London Evening Standard. 7 February 2016.
  26. "'Carol' leads 2015 Florida Film Critics Awards Nominations". Florida Film Critics Circle. 21 December 2015.
  27. "Indiewire 2015 Year-End Critics Poll". Indiewire.
  28. "IFTA 2016 Nominees". IFTA.
  29. "'Carol,' '45 Years' and Tom Hardy Lead London Critics' Nominations". Variety. 15 December 2015.
  30. "LAFCA awards best picture prize to 'Spotlight'". Screendaily. 6 December 2015.
  31. "'Mad Max: Fury Road' Named Best Film By National Board Of Review; 'The Martian' Grabs Three Awards". Deadline.
  32. "National Society of Film Critics Names 'Spotlight' Best Picture". The Hollywood Reporter. 3 January 2016.
  33. "New York Film Critics Online Name 'Spotlight' Best Film of the Year". Variety. 6 December 2015.
  34. ""Carol" and "Sicario" Lead the 19th OFCS Nominations". OFCS. 7 December 2015.
  35. "2015 San Diego Film Critics Society's Award Nominations". San Diego Film Critics Society. 11 December 2015.
  36. "2015 San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards". San Francisco Film Critics Circle. 13 December 2015.
  37. "Rams' humanism wins over the jury at Valladolid". Cineuropa.

External links

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