IN LONDON AFTER WORLD WAR II, NOVELIST, MAURICE BENDRIX, GOES TO GREAT LENGTHS TO DESTROY AND PERHAPS RECLAIM HIS MISTRESS, SARAH AFTER SHE'D UNACCOUNTABLY LEFT HIM 18 MONTHS BEFORE. IN A WORLD TORN APART BY CONFLICT, THRE... more »E PEOPLE'S LIVES ARE CHANGED FOREVER BY THE SEARING PASSION OF A FORBIDDEN LOVE AFFAIR.« less
Lori L. (lorifoxb) from LAGUNA BEACH, CA Reviewed on 11/15/2011...
Loved this movie. It's really well done and it surprized me how much I enjoyed it based on the negatavity on many of the reviews.. Give it a chance! Julianne Moore and Ralph Fiennes are terriffic!
Dianne S. from TUCSON, AZ Reviewed on 8/28/2010...
Ok movie. Was dark and depressing, and had several sex scenes that were quite explicit, which I did not expect.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Beautiful romantic tale
Roland E. Zwick | Valencia, Ca USA | 07/24/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the great joys in movie watching lies in stumbling across films that, by their very nature, should be nothing more than clichéd, hackneyed versions of stories we have seen a thousand times before yet, somehow, through the insightfulness of their creators, manage to illuminate those tales in ways that are wholly new and unexpected. Such is the case with Neil Jordan's "The End of the Affair," a film that in its bare boned outlining would promise to be nothing more than a conventional, three-handkerchief weepie centered around the hoary issue of romantic infidelity, but which emerges, instead, as a beautiful and moving meditation on the overwhelming force jealousy, love, commitment and passion can exert on our lives.Ralph Fiennes stars as Maurice Bendrix, a British writer living in 1940's London, who has an affair with Sarah Miles (Julianne Moore), the wife of Maurice's friend, Henry (Stephen Rea). Based on a Graham Greene novel, the film achieves far greater intellectual and emotional depth than this skeletal outline would indicate. Part of the success rests in the fact that both the original author and the adapter, writer/director Neil Jordan, have devised a multi-level scenario that utilizes a number of narrative techniques as the means of revealing crucial information to the audience regarding both the plot and the characters. For instance, the film travels fluidly back and forth in time, spanning the decade of the 1940's, from the initial meeting between Bendrix and Sarah in 1939, through the horrendous bombings of London during World War II to the "present" time of the post-war British world. This allows the authors to reveal the details of the affair slowly, enhanced by the even more striking technique of having the events viewed from the entirely different viewpoints of the two main characters involved. "Rashomon" - like, we first see the affair through the prism of Bendrix's limited perspective, only to discover, after he has confiscated Sarah's diary, that he (and consequently we) have been utterly mistaken as to the personal attributes and moral quality of Sarah all along. Thus, as an added irony, Bendrix discovers that he has been obsessing over a woman he "loves" but, in reality, knows little about.The authors also enhance the depth of the story through their examination of TWO men struggling with their overwhelming jealousy for the same woman and the complex interrelationships that are set up as a result. In fact, the chief distinction of this film is the way it manages to lay bare the souls of all three of these fascinating characters, making them complex, enigmatic and three-dimensional human beings with which, in their universality, we can all identify. Bendrix struggles with his raging romantic passions, his obsessive jealousy for the woman he can't possess and his lack of belief in God, the last of which faces its ultimate challenge at the end. Sarah struggles with the lack of passion she finds in the man she has married but cannot love as more than a friend, juxtaposed to the intense love she feels for this man she knows she can never fully have. In addition, she finds herself strangely faithful, if not to the two men in her life, at least to two crucial commitments (one to her wedding vows and one to God) yet unable to fully understand why. Henry struggles with his inadequacies as a lover and the strange possessiveness that nevertheless holds sway over him. Even the minor characters are fascinating. Particularly intriguing is the private investigator who becomes strangely enmeshed in the entire business as both Bendrix and Henry set him out to record Sarah's activities and whereabouts, a man full of compassion for the people whom he is, by the nature of his profession, supposed to view from a position of coldhearted objectivity. (One plot flaw does, however, show up here: why would this man, whose job it is to spy on unsuspecting people for his clients, employ a boy to help him who sports a very distinctive birthmark on one side of his face?)."The End of the Affair" would not be the noteworthy triumph it is without the stellar, subtly nuanced performances of its three main stars. In addition, as director, Jordan, especially in the second half, achieves a lyricism rare in modern filmmaking. Through a fluidly gliding camera and a mesmerizing musical score, Jordan lifts the film almost to the level of cinematic poetry; we sit transfixed by the emotional richness and romantic purity of the experience. "The End of the Affair" takes its place alongside "Brief Encounter" and "Two For the Road" as one of the very best studies of a romantic relationship ever put on film."
Ana Maria Barrenechea | 05/22/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is about a love story, told to the audience through the eyes of the lover, Maurice Bendrix (played by Ralph Fiennes). Sarah, (played by Julianne Moore) is the loved one and Henri (played by Stephen Rea) is the husband.It is true that for the first 40 minutes of this movie you sense that his is nothing else but a jealous's lovers account of their affair, and you start to wonder how it ended. The movie takes shape when you finally understand the reason for the breakup, and how Maurice reacts.It is finally a great love story in all sense. The movie tends to be dark but it is never slow. It moves along at a good speed so you can understand the different emotions all characters are feeling and why they act in a special way.I tryly loved this movie. The sets and costumes and colors used all blend together to maket a very beautiful story. The actors are exceptional and not for one minute do you think they are not right for their roles.Very good movie, excelent."
"Love doesn't end just because we don't see each other..."
Gina Marie Warswick | El Paso, TX | 05/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"And it is with that same note of devotion, resignation, and hopeless we see the three main characters sink so beautifully into the abyss of this doomed love triangle.As with most of writer-director Neil Jordan's work, three main figures are involved, and the struggles between the relationships of the three are the source of tension, action, and absolute watchability.What makes the story even more devastating is the fact it is not purely fictional, but rather, based on novelist Graham Greene's own entanglement with a married couple. With World War II as the backdrop, despite the futility in the whole affair-debacle, the viewer can take some odd comfort in knowing love was still very much a part of man's driving force in such terrible times. As Ralph Fiennes so perfectly embodies Bendrix with his flirtations of atheism and wanton lust, Julianne Moore provides us with an adultress even the most moral could secretly admire. Stephen Rea does a brilliant job of portraying the non-complaining, true and steady English gentleman in the face of embarrassment and death. Each of the three face a personal inner struggle, but the one to watch is Moore in the role of Sarah Miles. By looking at her torment, we see another love triangle present in the story, and that is the one between herself, God, and Bendrix. "I've made but two vows in my life-- one was to marry Henry, the other was to stop seeing you (Bendrix), and I'm too weak to keep either." How many times have we all been faced with such realizations of powerlessness?The film is honest in its depictions of physical love, so spare the kids from seeing this one just yet. For the audience it was intended--adults who face the push and pull of life's choices--there is something for all of us brooding over a past choice which still needs to be "addressed.""
A Woman of Her Word
The JuRK | Our Vast, Cultural Desert | 01/15/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While this film did not hit me as hard (emotionally) as THE ENGLISH PATIENT, it sure gave me plenty to think about.
The cast and direction are first-rate. The story is well-told. It made me buy the novel and read it--and then wonder how much of the story really happened!
If you enjoy intelligent, challenging love stories told against historical backdrops, then check this movie out. And be very careful what you ask God for."
An Answered Prayer
Vince Perrin | Stockton, CA USA | 08/30/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Irish director Neil Jordan has made a mature movie for adults about an affair between the wife of a British diplomat and an athiestic novelist. No less a character than God Himself performs two miracles to resolve the plot. It's based on an acclaimed semi-autobiographical novel by Graham Greene told in two parts: the diary of the novelist, baffled by her ending of their affair, and the diary of the wife, explaining why she did it. Both accounts are told side by side, moving back and forth between wartime London and the postwar 1950s as the end of the affair and reason for it are revealed.
This is no ordinary adultery. It's the blitz and bombs are falling nearby when the novelist's apartment is hit during their lovemaking and she sees that he is dead. A lapsed Catholic, she promises to leave him forever if God lets him live --- just as he walks in the door. To her lover and husband, it appears she is seeing someone else and together they hire a detective to identify him. After she kisses away a boy's birthmark, they are stunned to learn their rival is God. The novelist transfers his hatred of an unknown lover to an unknown God. Jordan's few changes in the narrative actually enhance the film, one of the best screen adaptations of the oft-adapted Greene.
Jordan's casting is usually so adroit that Julianne Moore, the Chicago-born New York actress, at first seems an odd choice for the wife in this all-British cast, there being no dearth of fine English actresses. Moore gets by on sheer skill and luminosity. Ralph Fiennes, Stephen Rea and Ian Hart are pitch-perfect as the novelist, husband and detective. All four play this somber chamber piece like a string quartet. You may recall an earlier 1950s version, following publication of the book. It starred Deborah Kerr and Van Johnson (yes!), who was turned into an American reporter. Better not dwell too long on it."