Guilty admission: I only went to see this film because of a traumatic relationship experience in which the ‘man of my dreams’ played a song on his acoustic guitar and claimed that it was our song (My One and Only Love by Coltrane). Months (not years, thank heavens) into our relationship and many requests by me to hear the song both in our house and at a jazz club, he received a card from a woman named Kate, signed My One and Only Love.
Being the masochist I can be on occasion, I went to watch something much more haunting on the big screen The therapeutic payoff was worth it. To see Charolotte Rampling struggle against wanting to snoop into the attic boxes, to see her ruminations in the pained expression of her face, helped me re-live and simultaneously diminish the power of my hurt feelings.
Marriage, I fully realize, has many benefits. On the other hand, when a major deception, a hidden hurtful truth or unmet yearning is revealed, the state of devastation is much more overwhelming. I have witnessed a dedicated 40 year marriage devolve into abandonment and cruelty and wonder if being single isn’t much more palatable.
Does Charlotte Rampling deserve the Oscar? Nah, but it is a tremendous psychological performance. I thought Tom Courtenay did just as fine a job portraying the bumbling, babbling brook of a man upended by a letter from Germany. Due to his shiftiness (and as an audience member we debate: ‘or is he merely elderly’?), we suspect his words and share in Charlotte’s despair.
Worth a rental on a rainy day, but possibly toxic to a marriage on the brink of any destructive confessions.