A week before Kate Mercer (Charlotte Rampling) and her husband, Geoff (Tom Courtenay), are about to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary at a grand party in their honor, they receive a letter revealing some upsetting news about one of Geoff’s former loves, a woman he knew before he married Kate. This news truly troubles Geoff, reminding him of a devastating loss from long ago. But the effect of this development is compounded when it becomes apparent just how much this decades-old tragedy has impacted Geoff throughout the years, particularly when it comes to the nature of his relationship with Kate, both now and throughout the course of their marriage.
Perhaps forcing viewers to consider this unnerving possibility is the point of this film, pushing us to examine a consciously created probability that’s just as valid (even if not as palatable) as all the others we might manifest for ourselves. Then again, given the dispiriting nature of this picture, one might also wonder why anybody would want to sit through a two-hour exploration of the idea that “life sucks and then you die.”