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Medawar, C. (2016). 45 Years, directed by Andrew Haigh, 2015. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 6(1):126-128.

(2016). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 6(1):126-128

45 Years, directed by Andrew Haigh, 2015

Review by:
Caroline Medawar

Director Andrew Haigh's latest film, 45 Years, is a remarkable, moving and unflinching depiction of a long marriage. Prior to this, Haigh directed Weekend, his acclaimed, tender account of contemporary gay life. He did not want to be typecast as a gay film-maker and chose a short story by David Constantine, In Another Country (2015), to pursue his interest in intimate relationships and to show the similar fears, doubts, and hopes that belong to them all.

Constantine's story is based on a real event. He had been holidaying in France and learnt about a young climber, father of an infant son, who had fallen to his death in 1930. For seventy years the body lay unchanged in the ice of a glacier until global warming melted the ice and freed the body. The son, now approaching eighty, had the traumatic experience of identifying his father, a man in the prime of his life. This surreal experience apparently affected his sanity. It also stimulated Constantine's creative imagination to think how a similar experience might unhinge the couple in his story.

In 45 Years, Geoff and Kate are a childless couple who have been together for forty-five years, and the film is set in the five days leading up to a celebratory party to mark this milestone. We are drawn into the mundane and apparently harmonious routines of a long marriage; the shared meals, domestic chores, and excursions into town, with the added tasks particular to the celebration—choosing clothes, planning the meal, and a nostalgic music play list.

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