TIFF 2015: Remember and 45 Years Are Both Big Winners 

It's a fact art house audiences skew older. That's not a criticism—I'm in that demographic myself. Movie houses such as The Flicks in Boise and The Magic Lantern in Sun Valley are oases for Oscar contenders, foreign films, documentaries and films addressing, let's say, "more mature" themes.

Each year at the Toronto International Film Festival I meet with scores of owners of small art houses from across the United States who are anxiously looking for offerings that would appeal to audiences who are less interested in seeing the next Transformers sequel and more keen to see something with a little less muscle and a lot more brain power. So it came as no surprise when more than a few of them cheered two new films, both starring actors in their senior years, that are bound to be audience-pleasers at The Flicks and The Magic Lantern.

click to enlarge Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling star in the 45 Years.
  • Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling star in the 45 Years.
45 Years stars the always superb but seldom seen Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling in a performance that should put her on the short list of Best Actress Oscar nominees. It's a smart but shattering drama about a provincial English couple approaching their 45th wedding anniversary. A lovely reception is planned in town until a few days before the party a letter arrives bearing grim news.

"They found her," says husband Geoff (Courtenay). "At least they found her body."

What follows is the unraveling of a 50-year mystery and a particularly intriguing set of photos hidden deep in the attic. Don't think for a moment I'll reveal anything more, but know this: 45 Years just opened in the U.K. two weeks ago and it's already a big hit. Both Courtenay and Rampling took home best acting prizes at the Berlin Film Festival.
click to enlarge Oscar winner Christopher Plummer stars in Remember.
  • Oscar winner Christopher Plummer stars in Remember.

Speaking of secrets, plenty abound in Remember, which had its world premiere here in Toronto. Director Atom Egoyan and star Christopher Plummer—both native sons of Canada—returned home to accept a well-deserved ovation after the film's world premiere. 

Plummer plays Zev, an 80-something widower confined to a nursing home. One day, a friend hands Zev an envelope that contains a long letter, hundreds of dollars in cash and a train ticket. Soon enough, Zev slips out of the nursing home and begins a journey that takes him to Reno, Nev.; a Canadian nursing home; and a Cleveland gun shop. There's also a very important stop in Boise.

What occurs in Idaho is a real stunner.

That's all I'll say about Remember, other than to insist it has to be on your must-see list.

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