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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Happily Never After

45 Years (2015) on IMDb

Plot Overview

A  dark screen  precedes the credits accompanied by the signature whir and click of a slide projector representing, we suppose, the dream images of Sunday night melting into Monday morning. A long shot of a pastoral scene in the flat­lands of Norfolk, eastern England, then fills the screen accompanied by the crunch of boots while the dog (Max) is given his run. Chris the Post­man (Sam Alexander) greets the matri­archal woman with the dog (“Good Morning, Mrs Mercer”) who tells him to call her Kate, as she is no longer his teacher. At home Kate (Charlotte Rampling) discusses with her husband Geoff (Tom Courtenay) The Platters' song for the first dance at their up-and-coming 45th anniversary.

Kate asks him about the mail (“What is it?”) and he replies, “It's a letter … in German.” He explains, “They found Katya.” His erst­while flame with the similar name has “been there over fifty years like some­thing in a freezer … She's in a glacier in the Swiss mountains. … She looks like she did in 1962, and I look like this.

As the intertitles tick off the sennight leading up to their Saturday celebration, they each have to process this blast from the past (“I don't think I care to talk about her any more”) until the first dance turns into a formal “Goodbye.


The movie plays like a chapter from the Bible, starting with, (Eccl. 11:1) “Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.” In 1962 Geoff had cast his sweet­heart on ahead of him, with the guide, around the rock, and she disappeared down a fissure. Now many days later she's come back, albeit frozen solid, to him who was ostensibly her next of kin—they had a sham marriage going at the time.

(Eccl. 11:2) “Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.” Geoff is going all out to make a happy marriage with Kate these 45 years: home in the country, dancing, loving, celebrating. If they don't have a gay marriage, it's not for lack of trying à la, (Eccl. 9:9) “Live joy­fully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.”

(Eccl. 11:3) “If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.” A heavy rain­fall loosens the roots and the tree falls over, decaying over time to become a "mother tree" providing nutrients for sprouting vegetation. Kate was disturbed in that she filled in the space in the life of Geoff, which was vacated by the demise of Katya.

(Eccl. 11:4) “He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.” Geoff was spending his night in the attic going over memorabilia, his after­noon in the library reading up on climate science, and his morning visiting the travel agent, leaving little time to plan and prepare for the upcoming celebration.

There is a curious parallel in this movie between the strange geometry of pictures (of melting glaciers) in the library book on Climate Change and the higgledy-piggledy scrap­book in the attic memorializing Geoff & Katya, both being curious hodgepodges briefly examined and then returned, ho hum. The other parallel is between the discrete slide-projected shots in the attic, and the inter­title announced sequence of days leading up to the decade-demarked celebration with the song list from the 1960s, very troubling. Taking a cue from Dr. Claes Johnson, the former pair can be likened (in an artistic sense) to a Stefan-Boltz­mann's Law fit for a climate model using a “finite precision computation”, i.e. a hodge­podge of prints representing light coming in waves, quite unalarming. The latter pair can be likened to the Rayleigh-Jeans Law fit for a climate model treating light as particles to be manipulated statistically, leading to climate alarm. While I might discuss these actual equations with my Physicist friends—I myself have been trained in engineering—a movie review for the layman will content itself with an artistic representation. The forty-fifth anniversary was actually a fortieth anniversary postponed due to Geoff's operation. Looking at the "culprit" for man-made climate change being the internal combustion engine, a V–8 symbolically can be rendered with the V being a Roman numeral for 5, and 5 x 8 = 40. To get 45, we would take 5 x 9. A V–9 engine would be unbalanced, a different number of cylinders on each side, which is what happens under the latter mathematical model taking back­radiation in discrete hops to arrive at extra energy, violating the first law of thermo­dynamics, i.e. creating energy by a mathematical fiction. I've written more generally on the false­hood of the green­house gas model of man­made climate change in my review of the movie “The Martian” where he lives on Mars in an actual greenhouse.

“45 Years” is more focused on "green energy." In a sparse 1½ hour film, we have the opening pastoral scene with walking the dog taking a good cut of the time, but we have a repeat of it later. We have ambling walks down­town. Geoff describes how he's not up to walking the Alps any more. We get to be acutely aware of human power, walking.

When the couple goes to rent the Assembly House in Norwich, the proprietor explains how it opened in 1805, and he asks them to imagine the people moving around in it, right after Trafalgar. Adding to the pastures shown earlier, I easily imagine horses. Historian J.M. Roberts explains the historical reference as, Spain's “battle­fleet was destroyed by the British in 1805 in the Battle off Cape Trafalgar” (315). All those sailing ships were powered by wind, of course.

In “45 Years” we spend time with people riding a canal boat on an excursion complete with guide explaining the geological forces that led to the formation of the water­ways allowing their travel by paddle boat. “Richer fuel contributed to early industrialization above all through the perfecting of a new source of energy, the steam engine [that] burnt coal as fuel” (Roberts 327). Geoff visits the factory that he once managed and complains about its modernization.

In the movie we spend a lot of time riding around in cars to no seeming purpose. “In 1900 … New energy sources were being tapped: oil and electricity had joined coal, wood, wind and running water. … Railways, electric trams, steamships, motor-cars and bicycles had given to millions new possibilities of movement” (Roberts 414). Today we are married to the internal combustion engine, which had been thought of as "cool", just as Geoff was “cool” smoking his cigarette when he met pretty Kate. But at one time man was married to wooden sailing ships, as was Geoff "married" to Katya with a wooden wedding band. Kate is jealous of the prior bonding, especially when she discovers Geoff had been buying her Katya's perfume. That we still yearn for greener energy is evidenced when we impose emission standards on cars to make them smell like a sweet sea breeze. “45 Years” is not a documentary like Al Gore's, but it does play on our angst about hydro­carbon fuel powering our trans­por­tation modes. Geoff's “bypass” is a double entendre about our high­way infra­structure as well, that we're stuck with it now, and that's not about to change. As Geoff put it in his (sad) speech, “The choices we make when we are young are pretty bloody important.” Or as Jon Stock wrote in a novel of his, “For the past two years she had known that the day would come when she would have to confront the choices she had made in her life” (179–80).

Kate's best friend Lena (Geraldine James) was referred to as a “fascist”, which hints at government control over carbon emissions based on false climate change worries and our general discontent.

Production Values

This movie, “” (2015), was written and directed by Andrew Haigh, based on David Con­stan­tine's short story “In Another Country.” It stars Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay, and Geraldine James. We got two very good lead performances: an out­standing one from Tom Courtenay and a quite decent one from Charlotte Rampling.

MPAA rated it R for language and brief sexuality. It was filmed at Norfolk Broads, Norfolk, England, UK. A lot of scenes prominently displayed a wedding band on a finger, and there were ticking clocks and tolling bells throughout, representing changes in marriage over time, I suppose. Sixties songs hark back to an earlier time. The Platters, “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” was featured. Haigh's camera-work with cinema­tog­rapher Lol Crawley gave us medium close-ups of Kate, tightly framed close-ups of Geoff, zooms and panoramas, combined in a visual delight. How­ever, this is a plodder; don't expect much action—although the dancing was good.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

This is a drama that is not very dramatized but relies on facial expression and body language to convey deep feelings. How­ever, they do corres­pond on some level to modern man's own feelings about what he's got him­self into, so let's not fault the film. It delivers.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Weak action scenes. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day. Suspense: Predictable. Overall product rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture was quoted from the Authorized Version, Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Johnson, Claes, PhD. “Computational Blackbody Radiation.” Pub. in, Timothy Ball, Alan Siddons, et al. Slaying the Sky Dragon: Death of the Green­house Gas Theory. Mount Vernon: Stairway Press, 2011. Print.

Roberts, J.M. A History of Europe. New York: Penguin Press, 1997. Print.

Stock, Jon. Dead Spy Running. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2009. Print.