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Tom Courtenay has followed a tortuous path from the height of "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner" to the depths of 45 years. In this film it appears that Courtenay and Rampling were given a vague outline of a plot and were allowed to be (near) senile geezers (probably really true for Courtenay) and could blather to their heart's content. Supposedly, this movie was an adaptation of a 10 page short story - which means a wafer thin premise padded with a whole sack of nothings.
Rated 3/10. Granted the actors did a fair job, but it couldn't overcome how boring and slow-moving this story was.
If you like long scenes with lots of dialogue, then you'll like this movie.
The ending was extremely anti-climatic. So what, it was 50 years ago! Tragic, yes; deceptive, no.
The DVD box write-ups highly inflate the quality of this movie. Gripping? I don't think so.
Looking at the other comments, opinions vary quite a bit. I think it's a low blow to criticise someone else's comments (and naming the writer!) after-the-fact, saying that they "slept through the best parts". How someone likes a movie can be very subjective. Each to their own, right?
Searing drama that will prompt post-screening discussion and contemplation. Geoff (Tom Courtenay) has failed to fully explain to his wife of 45 years the full story of his first love. When a letter arrives that reveals the depth of that relationship and the dramatic events that led to its end, the fabric of their marriage starts to unravel. The timing of the revelation - just days before their fancy anniversary celebration - adds a level of suspense that drives the film forward. Charlotte Rampling is magnificent in her role as Kate, the wife whose world is turned upside down by the decades-long deception. Bonus: Based on a short story by David Constantine (book and story title: In Another Country) loosely based on a true tale.
I read the short story afterward, only about ten pages. They have expanded it, but it does not seem padded. The song choices were relevant, I'd expected to find them in the story, but they were not there. This is an age, if it were not ever so, when state of mind is brought into many things. Many laws for example require a certain state of mind to qualify the nature of the crime. That speaks to me as idealism in a world where we can only guess how well we know ourselves or others. How many people who have been traumatized grope their way through life trying some how to fit in? Yet they cling gamely on to life, their consolation prize.
It's hard to believe two people who stuck by each other through so many years would have been so strongly affected by the sudden discovery that one of then had a love affair BEFORE the two main characters met.
Of course people have things they never tell each other, for their own good reasons. Especially when the things happened before they met.
I found this to be an annoying film, and the two characters each a little creepy.
Initially, I was not sure I would stick with the entire movie, but I am glad I did. The acting was amazing and the story was very poignant.
If you have ever been in a relationship where you loved someone wholly and fully and without reservation and then discovered they have kept something from you.
I think Firefly missed some very key facts in the movie and must have been sleeping through the best parts.
I stuck with this movie to the bitter end. I could not understand why the wife would be jealous of a relationship her husband had 50 years ago and 5 years before they got married. These two people were obviously in their 70's and as far as I am concerned the past is the past. They were together 45 years, and the other woman was dead the entire time. I could not see the point.
I enjoyed the story and the characters. A solid, entertaining well acted movie.
Agony to watch, after I got the drift of just how wrapped up in the past this husband had been. It would have been more pleasant to have it be her carrying the torch, but instead she was so gentle, so supportive, so tough... and then as the gradual understanding that nothing had changed for him, that she was competing with a "perfect" lover, her life ends on the dance floor with one of my favorite songs of the 50's (past tense, I will have to not think of this movie when I hear it in the future). Kudos for the wonderful development of the story line, the subtle changes in her relationships with her friends and Charlotte Rampling's marvelous acting.
As a couple prepares for their 45th anniversary, the past reasserts itself and needs attention. This is not a film about elderly people as much as it's about the meaning and staying power of things that happen when you're young. Exquisite and devastating.
do we see just want we want to see in him/her, overlooking other aspects? do we focus just on the good or bad? when one partner suddenly makes changes that the other wishes for, are those changes accepted/believed? can people in a long-term relationship grow & be there for one another. this is a great movie about relationships, especially long-term ones.
Oh, the burn. What was presented as a brief and relatively unimportant romantic relationship in a distant, youthful past - barely mustering mention - turns out to have been so much more as a wife of 45 years discovers just how deeply captured the heart of her denying husband was - and still is.
As previous reviews have indicated, this is not a movie for everyone. Yes, it is slow but it is also quite profound and insightful. The dilemma is simple: a woman discovers that her husband of 45 years has never quite stopped loving his girlfriend from 50 years ago who died suddenly in a tragic accident. Although the husband vigorously professes his love for his wife, the revelation creates a chasm in the relationship that the viewer suspects can never quite be breached. Charlotte Rampling's performance as the wife is superb.
This movie is slow paced and I was ready to shut it off. However, I’m glad I kept with it because the movie sneaks up on you and gives you much to think about when it’s over. At times I thought Kate should just allow Geoff to grieve and not confront him but there are innuendos that are revealed later that made me realize ok now I understand. Loved the ending of Geoff’s affirmation of his love for Kate. I could relate to Kate. The movie reveals a lot about men and women in relationships.
Superb acting and directing is what earns this movie 3 stars. And while it is slow-moving, and reveals things as slowly as a tide creeping in, neither of those things would have caused me to dislike the movie. What disappointed me was the very unsatisfying conclusion. In fact, I watched through the entire credits thinking that perhaps a final clue would be given.
One of the most boring story lines EVER. The acting was superb. I'm sure this is because the directing was also well done. But, B-O-R-I-N-G!
I watched it to the bitter end... I kept hoping it would get better....sometimes I wish I could just let things go ....I want my 2 hours of life back :(
Despite the talent of the two lead actors, this is one boring film. I failed to finish it.
With people living longer, the chances now are increasing that the theme of this film will have increasing resonance with the audience. People are now more likely to have second intimate relationships. With more frequency, the partners of the second relationship are going to think more about the possibility that their first partner never stopped them. Or maybe, time has dissolved enough of the memories making the first relationship seem more ideal that it really was. Rampling and Courtenay are two of Europe's greatest actors in their twilight years. Rampling received an Oscar nomination, but then screwed up when she spoke about the all white Oscar nominations for two years straight for best and supporting actors. She forgot that the Oscar voting membership was virtually all white through the 1960's with only a trickle of non-whites into the organization after that.
Fifty years after she died while hiking in the alps an old man's first love is found perfectly preserved in a glacier—a turn of events which sends his wife into a psychological tailspin just days before their 45th wedding anniversary. But which partner is worthy of sympathy? A tepid script is brought to searing life thanks to the combined talents of Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling.
This is an English film made with a French sensibility. It is the kind of 'drame intime' about a couple that French cinema is so good at - perhaps that is what accounts for the number of comments below that find it 'boring'. Yes, it moves slowly, and the screenplay is understated and subtle (evidently too subtle for some). But the acting is terrific and the cinematography is brilliant (look for the 'split screen' scene when Charlotte Rampling runs the slide projector). Tom Courtenay as her husband gives an amazingly nuanced performance. A reviewer in The Telegraph last year summed the film up perfectly in a single phrase: 'And how can a love, weathered by day-to-day living, ever compete with one cut off in its prime?'
Well done. Charlotte Rampling is excellent. The story seems to be simple but stays with you.