December 5, 2015 -- A ghostly woman from the past intrudes on a couple's 45th wedding anniversary celebration in this drama set in England. Memories of a long dead woman, a lover from Geoff Mercer's (played by Tom Courtenay of “Dr. Zhivago”) past, begin to upset his wife, Kate Mercer (Charlotte Rampling of “Georgy Girl”) as the couple gets ready for their anniversary celebration.
The trouble starts when Geoff gets a letter from Switzerland, where the body of his former lover, Katya, has been discovered in a glacier. She died there in a hiking accident years before Kate and Geoff were married. Geoff is listed as the next of kin and is being asked to identify the body. Since he is no relation to Katya and the two were never married, he tries to explain to Kate just how he came to be listed as next of kin.
When Geoff gets up in the middle of the night to retrieve a photo of Katya from the attic, this further arouses Kate's suspicions and her jealousy. She finally ventures into the attic herself and discovers a whole cache of slides of Katya (and none of Kate). When she discovers that Geoff has been asking about travel to Switzerland, she finally confronts him about his feelings.
Kate asks Geoff if he would have married Katya if she had lived, and Geoff doesn't want to answer the question, but Kate insists. He finally says yes, he would have married Katya. Kate begins to imagine Katya's influence in all of Geoff's actions and says she can smell Katya's perfume in the house. After 45 years of marriage, Kate thought she knew Geoff pretty well, but suddenly, he seems like a stranger.
Kate can't compete with Katya's memory, in a sense, because Katya will always be young in Geoff's memory, and her youthful beauty just might be perfectly preserved in glacier ice as well. The memory of a first love is a strong memory too. Kate and Geoff struggle to get past this problem as they prepare for the big wedding anniversary party in town (they live nearby in the country).
The performances by Courtenay and Rampling are excellent. Both have been acting in movies for more than 50 years. Fifty years ago, in 1965, Rampling appeared in “The Knack ... And How to Get It” and Courtenay played the part of Pasha in “Dr. Zhivago.” They look and act the part of an old married couple, used to each other's habits and quirks. This is an effective drama about a gathering storm in an old relationship. The story is based on the short story “In Another Country” by David Constantine. This film rates a B.
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