Home Movies Lily Tomlin Gets Another Senior, Charlotte Rampling, as Oscar Competition

You know I am crazy about Lily Tomlin in “Grandma.” She’s a solid Oscar contender. She has another “Senior” in the competition, and that’s very good news.

Charlotte Rampling gives an absolute knockout performance in IFC Films’ “45 Years.” She co-stars with legendary British actor Tom Courtenay as a childless couple facing their 45th anniversary with a big secret hanging over their heads. Geraldine James, one of my favorite Brit actresses, is their friend.

I’m going to tell you upfront that no one dies and no one is sick in “45 Years.” My first thought going in was that this was “Amour” or the Julie Christie Alzheimer’s movie “Away from Her.” It is neither. Kate and Jeff are extremely vital people with a subtle issue that eats away at them. The screenplay by director Andrew Haigh based on a short story by David Constantine is fascinating and beautifully turned out. There’s just enough wry humor in it, too, to keep it from getting maudlin.

Rampling is probably best known to American audiences lately from “Dexter.” Hah! She’s worked every year since 1965, when she was 19. Her most famous American movie roles are “The Night Porter” (1974) and Woody Allen’s “Stardust Memories” (1980). Her work is consistently top notch. But this is her best ever performance, capping a very proud career. Hooray for her!

Tom Courtenay is not chopped liver by any means. He will be cited come awards time too. For IFC this is like the elder “Boyhood” in a way. I hope they put some muscle into it. A beautiful study of marriage, of relationships, of wondering if we knew our own lives at all.

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