For her heartbreaking performance as an aggrieved wife in writer/director Andrew Haigh's "45 Years," Charlotte Rampling just won Best Actress on Sunday from both the Los Angeles and Boston film critics. She can add those awards to the Silver Bear she received from the Berlin film festival in February. Since it debuted there, this intimate look at a crisis point in a long marriage from has played like gangbusters in its native England and wowed at the Toronto film festival. IFC Films is opening it stateside in limited release on December 23.
Buoyed by the buzz, Rampling has solidified her standing on our Oscar chart. She is currently in fifth place, with 15 of our 22 Experts drawn from major media who cover this beat year-round predicting that she will be nominated. Expect her to rise up the ranks up the ranks in the coming days as our Experts update their predictions.
In advance of its opening, "45 Years" already sits at a jaw-dropping 97 at Rotten Tomatoes (which uses a pass/fail system) and an impressive 92 on the sliding scale at MetaCritic. Many of the rave reviews single out Rampling's performance. Below, just a sampling of these.
Tim Robey (The Telegraph): "Rampling has rarely been better than she is here, in the role of a placid, dog-walking, tea-drinking middle-class Brit, who finds the floor abruptly falling out beneath her. The way she plays Kate, with gentle probing turning into increasingly terrifying passive aggression, the suspense of the movie hinges on the possibility of forgiveness, and you watch that doll-like, rather disturbing visage minutely for signs of a thaw."
Peter Bradshaw (The Guardian): "Rampling’s ambiguous emotional reactions in the film’s gripping final minutes could show any number of things: that her life has been a lie, or that this is the truth, that the people we meet, the people we love, the people we ourselves come to be – they are all random, all just an accident. Or is she seeing an even scarier truth? Behind all the happy faces that she sees, ostensibly as happy as hers, there is utter turmoil."
Charles Gant (Variety): "A wiry Rampling, youthful in her trim physique and sleek wardrobe choices, brings Kate’s whirling emotions to the screen with similar economy."
Eric Kohn (IndieWire): "While Haigh's light narrative touch, steeped in implicative exchanges and lengthy pauses, occasionally lends the air of a minor work, Rampling carries it another level. She's never achieved so much with so little: Discussing her past with her husband and speculating on his romance that preceded her, Kate's subtle expressions suggest an ever-changing set of speculations and imprecise emotions. The movie hovers in her haunted, ambiguous state."
Rampling is on the same awards path as another European import, Emmanuelle Riva. Three years ago, that veteran French actress won awards from both the Los Angeles and Boston critics for "Amour," another film about a lengthy marriage. She went on to win Best Actress at the European Film Awards. Rampling contends here too with those prizes handed out on Dec. 12.
The multilingual Rampling won her first Best Actress bid at the EFAs for the French film "The Swimming Pool" in 2003 and has been nominated twice more: "Immortel" (2004) and "Lemming" (2005). She contended for the Cesar, France's equivalent of the Oscar, for all three of those performances.
Riva went on to be nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars. She was a strong contender, especially after she won at the BAFTA Awards, but was edged out by Jennifer Lawrence ("Silver Linings Playbook").
And the British-born Rampling could well win at the BAFTAs, which take place on Feb. 15, right in the middle of Oscar voting.
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"45 Years" photo credit: IFC Films