45 Years

Rated 5.0

Charlotte Rampling gives the performance of a lifetime—and easily the best performance of 2015—in writer-director Andrew Haigh’s equal parts wistful and brutal 45 Years. Her performance is a study in contrasts that perfectly personifies the film’s dueling moods of contented enchantment and nagging despair. She never lets the seams show, and the same goes for Haigh’s perfectly modulated script and deceptively restrained direction. 45 Years is Haigh’s cinematic follow-up to his quietly magical Weekend (he was also the creative force behind the HBO show Looking), and he brings that same air of immediacy and feeling of melancholic self-discovery to this story of an aging married couple exhuming long-buried secrets on the eve of their 45th wedding anniversary. It’s about nothing until you realize it’s about everything; a moment informs a lifetime, and a lifetime informs a moment. An almost equally magnificent Tom Courtenay plays Rampling’s emotionally oblivious husband. D.B.