45 Years

I got ready for a meeting and was glad to have the food that was brought out for us. We were there for meaningless discussions for too long. On the plus side, I had only three hours left in my shift afterwards. I took the bus out to my bank and the ATM, and then I returned to see “45 Years” with Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay. It was a look at a marriage between Kate and Geoff, about to celebrate their 45th anniversary when they get a distressing bit of news about a woman from Geoff’s past. What has been a long and happy marriage appears to be threatened. What we call happiness might be simply a delusion, a denial of the past and other mistakes that have been made. It seems like a fantastic coincidence that this news about Katya arrives just before this anniversary. This movie feels a bit like the British version of “Amour.” Geoff is the one who is suffering from age. The appearance of Charlotte Rampling made me think back to “Georgy Girl.” The movie did manage to remind of James Joyce’s “The Dead.” When Geoff starts smoking, it made me remember my grandmother, who drove everybody crazy with her smoking. One thing I thought about was the space we have to leave between ourselves. I don’t believe in the notion in not having any secrets. The turning point was Geoff saying that if Katya had lived, he would have married her. In reality, at that age, all sorts of things could have happened. People change their minds. At this moment, though, Kate doesn’t feel that she can talk about Katya anymore. One other strong scene had Kate in the attic discovering old film slides of Katya so that she could see this woman in her youth. The dog seemed to be calling to her, though. Another memorable moment was Kate in the travel agency. Pop songs seemed like important memories in this movie. I noticed “I Only Want to Be with You” and “To Sir, With Love.” “For What It’s Worth,” “Your Precious Love,” and “Higher and Higher” were mentioned. Kate turns off “Young Girl” when it’s played on the radio. In the closing part of the film, “Happy Together” and “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” were prominent. The movie did feel slow and tiring at times, like not much was happening besides talking and a lot of quiet domestic rituals. A key detail is that Geoff and Kate don’t have children, and so the thought of this alternative life with Katya was something different and possibly with greater happiness. Geoff was amusing at times and frustrating at other times, and sad at still other times. Seeing this once angry young man bent over and vomiting was a painful sight. Charlotte Rampling could have had a greater career if she hadn’t been in “The Night Porter.” When I saw her in “Stardust Memories,” I thought she was very good. This movie draws you into these lives and make you feel like you know these characters. I think the audience felt a lot of sympathy for Kate. I didn’t think this movie was quite as great as all the positive reviews have suggested. It did make me feel that I learned a bit of a lesson about aging. “Go Now” was the song played over the end credits and I thought about Switzerland. Most of the audience was older than I was. A person with bad body odor from the rain decided to see next to me moments before the movie started, which was a reminder of how frustrating urban life can be. I went home and watched two Partridge Family episodes, “Soul Club” and “To Play or Not to Play.” They gathered all of that food for the block party, but I didn’t see anyone eating. I also watched the NUMB3RS episode “Sneakerhead.” I couldn’t imagine anyone paying $250,000 for such as ugly pair of shoes. An American Masters program on Mike Nichols was on KQED, but I fell asleep in the middle of it. Nichols made comments about the German language that I could understand. “Stalag 17” was on television. It was a movie that impressed me when I was a child, and I still liked it. I had forgotten that Peter Graves had one of the key roles. Some of the people who died on January 30 include Betsy Ross (1836), Mahatma Gandhi (1948), Lightnin’ Hopkins (1982), Sidney Sheldon (2007), and John Barry (2011). Today is a birthday for Phil Collins (65), Gene Hackman (86), and Dorothy Malone (91).

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