Starring: Tom Courtenay, Charlotte Rampling
Director: Andrew Haigh
If the presence of Tom Courtenay in the cast list has lead you to expect another jolly geriatric comedy along the lines of Quartet, you might be a little disappointed by Andrew Haigh’s sensitively written and directed marital drama. But if jokes are in short supply, there’s no shortage of good acting on screen, with Charlotte Rampling giving an impressive performance as an ex-music teacher living in rural retirement with her ailing husband. Their 45th wedding anniversary is fast approaching, but increasingly she finds herself struggling with the fear that a long-dead girlfriend might have been her partner’s true love and that she has only ever played second fiddle to her in his heart.
Aside from these momentous thoughts, not a whole lot happens – chances are most viewers will have had a more eventful week than the couple in the film. But that’s hardly the point in what is a gentle, nuanced slice of life which offers an unflinching, unsentimental view of ageing, illness and isolation. Haigh handles every aspect of the story – including one brief but memorable crumbly-sex scene – with infinite gentleness and tact, and long term fans of the two stars will relish this opportunity to spend a bit of time in their company in the autumn of their careers. 7/10