The End of the Affair

The End of the Affair is the new film written and directed by Oscar winner Neil Jordan (In Dreams, The Butcher Boy) based on the novel by Graham Green (The End of the Road, The Power and the Glory). The inspiration from the novel comes from Green's real-life affair with a married woman, and is dedicated to her. Although the movie packs heavy star power with three prior Oscar nominees (Ralph Fiennes, Julianne Moore and Stephen Rea), the story itself fails to generate any excitement or emotion until the end.

The affair in question is between Sarah Miles (Moore, Magnolia, A Map of the World) and novelist Maurice Bendrix (Fiennes, Onegin, The Prince of Egypt). The movie takes place a couple years after the affair ends, and flashes back and forth between the past and the present. Sarah and Maurice met in the opening years of World War II, where their affair blossomed, without the knowledge of Sarah's husband Henry (Rea, Guinevere, In Dreams). In fact, there is, and never was, and passion between Henry and Sarah. Henry is too busy with his work to shower any type of affection on Sarah. The affair ends abruptly (hey, watch the movie and find out how, I'm not telling), and two years later, the three meet again. Now, Henry suspects that Sarah is having an affair, and asks Maurice to help him discover Sarah's lover. The End of the Affair is told mostly from Maurice's point of view. Things begin to get interesting when the reasons for Sarah's actions are finally known, both to the viewer and to Maurice.

The film is beautifully shot, but the most of the characters are very unlikable. Rea is playing the role that he always seems to play, but this time he is even dourer (if possible) and his hair is finally under control. His Henry is one-dimensional and boring, as he should be. Fiennes also plays a role he is familiar with, and he shines. Moore, one of the most versatile actors today, easily makes everyone forget she is American. Sarah's character by far has the most depth, but none of this is revealed until well into the movie. It is the struggle between her beliefs and the reality of her situation with Henry that forms the emotional core of the movie. Everyone seems to be going through the motions Sarah's motivations become clear. However, this happens late enough so that most of the interest in the movie is gone. But this movie is still better and more complex than typical Hollywood drivel.

Mongoose Rates It: Not Bad.
1 hour, 45 minutes, Rated R for scenes of strong sexuality.

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