The End of the Affair 1999 (1999) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: On a rainy London night in 1946, novelist Maurice Bendrix has a chance meeting with Henry Miles, husband of his ex-mistress Sarah, who abruptly ended their affair two years before. ... Runtime: 102 mins Release Date: 10 Dec 1999
Love and the spiritual life made beautifully visible. (by Peegee-3)
Love and the spiritual i.e. inner life have rarely been better portrayed! Graham Greene's novel has been translated to cinematic imagery with an almost religious devotion. It isn't easy to make profound and meaningful experience so immediate and felt as this film does. Watching it on video...a second viewing...I was even more deeply moved than the first time around.Julianne Moore, very much on the big screen these days and for good reason , gives another of her splendid performances, this time as Sarah Miles, a middle-class English woman, married to a good, but dull man who takes <more>
her for granted. Her encounter with Maurice Bendrix played to a T by the consummate actor, Ralph Fiennes is electric and sets in motion an affair of deep consequence...for all three people involved. Stephan Rea as Henry Miles, Sarah's husband, trapped in his desire, but inability to fulfill the emotional and sexual needs of his much-loved wife, is another convincing and touching portrayal.The spiritual aspects expressed in the film, reflect the life-long struggle of Grahame between his Catholicism and his doubts. The deep pulls of each character toward both personal and impersonal love give the film a dimension and an honesty that reward the "participant" for that's how potent the film is with an indelible human experience.To Neil Jordan, the director, my wholehearted gratitude for his sensitive, nuanced presentation of this beautiful film.
Look at the comments on this site. There's pretty much a perfect split between people who think the film is unrelentingly dull with no redeeming features, and people who think the film is an amazing achievement. I fall into the latter category, and can't for the life of me figure out the former. This is not an action film. There is no violence. There are no thrills, chills, spills, or anything along those lines. There are three terrific characters, there is an amazingly romantic relationship, and there are superb performances. There is a wonderful director who keeps everything tightly <more>
reigned in. There is nothing superfluous in this film. It is perfect. Maurice Bendrix Ralph Fiennes is a novelist who meets beautiful Sarah Miles Julianne Moore at a party hosted by her husband Henry Stephen Rea , whom Bendrix is researching for a book. In no time at all, Sarah and Maurice begin a tempestuous and passionate affair which continues through World War II, until Sarah breaks it off suddenly after an air raid which nearly took Bendrix's life. A chance encounter with Henry two years later brings Bendrix and Sarah together again, and they rekindle their affair as the truth about that air raid is revealed. A nice enough story on its own. But what makes this film great is the approach that Jordan takes or perhaps it's not his approach... I'm not familiar with either the novel by Graham Greene or the 1955 film . The opening line of the film is typed by Bendrix onto a clean sheet of paper: "This is a diary of hate." It is only at the end of the film that the viewer understands who it is that Bendrix hates, and why. The story is a dramatization of what Bendrix is writing.First, he tells us about 1946, when he just happened to see Henry walking in the rain. It's this moment that opens the door for Bendrix, and for us, into his own past. Then Bendrix proceeds to interweave his recent experiences of 1946 with events that transpired during the War. That gives us three distinct time frames for the film, which are introduced to the viewer in reverse chronological order.Also, it is useful to remember that everything we see on screen with the exception of several scenes of Bendrix typing away is a depiction of what Bendrix writes. The entire film is told from Bendrix's point-of -view. This allows us two things: 1 more intimate access to the inner workings of such a fascinating character, and 2 it allows us to enjoy the mystery element of the story much more. If you'll notice, all of the best mysteries tend to have single-character POVs. Look at Chinatown, or The Maltese Falcon. Splitting the POV tends to give audiences information which they should not get before the main character does. Not that this film is a mystery. There is a mystery in it, which is central to the plot and to Bendrix's situation, but I wouldn't call the film itself a mystery. What makes this film great is its understatement. It is a very English film, and the characters and performances are all very English. Emotions are fiercely felt but subtly expressed. That makes it highly demanding of its audience, but even more rewarding. It also explains why so many call the film boring. Sarah was described as an ice queen in one review here, and Bendrix was called shallow. Like most reviews including this one , those comments say a lot more about the people who wrote them then they do about their purported subject. Sarah is intensely passionate, Bendrix is a layered and complex character. So, not for all tastes, but a brilliant film. Better than any and all of the Best Picture noms of 1999.
It's hard to praise this movie without spoiling a major plot twist, but I'll try. Cinematographically breathtaking and featuring Oscar-caliber performances, The End of the Affair is a must see. Ralph Fiennes is wonderfully brooding, and Julianne Moore is astounding as an adultress who turns out to be much, much, much more than she seems. "I am very human" she says. At first she appears to be nothing but a deceptive woman who cheats on her husband and leaves her lover for another, but as the film progresses and we realize how complex she is.In a brilliant stroke of direction, <more>
the couple takes off more and more items of clothing in successive love scenes. When Sarah and Maurice make love for the first time on her couch, minutes before her husband walks in they take off only the necessary items of clothing. By the time the critical scene that reveals Sarah's true nature comes, the pair is completely naked. The metaphor works brilliantly: the more items of clothing that come off, the more they confess their love for each other, and the more Sarah is figuratively undressed. Maurice's envy also increases with each scene. "I am jealous of this stocking...because it kisses your whole leg, and I cannot...I am jealous of this shoe, because it will take you away from me." Also excellent is the showing of the same incident twice; once from his point of view, and once from hers.There is also a moment of cinematic reference that few will catch unaided: On a date to watch one of his books that was turned into a movie, Sarah and Maurice watch "The End of the Affair" 1955 . This, of course, is a clue that the character of Maurice might be slightly autobiographical representing author Graham Greene .The End of the Affair features both a love story and a mystery, and is a movie that deserves for viewers to watch with both eyes open.
Complicated, powerful and intriguing (by FlickJunkie-2)
This is an engrossing tale of love, passion and betrayal invloving three star-crossed lovers. Maurice Bendrix Ralph Fiennes is a man haunted by jealousy and pain over an affair he had with the wife of one of his friends, Henry Miles Stephen Rea . The affair has been over for two years when a chance encounter with Miles takes Bendrix to his house where he once again encounters Sarah Julianne Moore . The obsession for her returns when Henry tells him that he suspects that Sarah is having an affair. At hearing this Maurice gets jealous, thinking that he has been replaced as her paramour. <more>
What follows is a complex and tangled web of suspicion, jealousy and dolor.This is a wonderfully complicated story that opens slowly like a flower. It is a first person narrative delivered by Bendrix and it gets more intriguing as the film progresses. The use of flashbacks is subtlety effective, where the realizations about misinterpretations come not from the dialogue, but from seeing the same scene from two perspectives. The love scenes are sensuously done and the general tone of the film is poignant and sensitive.The film was nicely photographed with various filters to give it an old feel without losing the richness. Director Neil Jordan did a fine job of giving the film a genuine look of the period with proper English costumes from the 1940's. Ralph Fiennes was excellent as the jealous lover. He played the character as civilized and staid with molten lava just beneath the surface. He was masterful at conveying strong emotion with a sideways glance or hand gesture without losing his composure.Julianne Moore has added another fabulous dramatic performance to her resume as Sarah. She played the part with fatalistic passion, victimized by vortex of events she felt powerless to control.Stephen Rea also shined as the impassive cuckold. Rea tends to be very understated in his portrayals, often too much so. But he was the perfect choice for the hapless Miles; so intellectual, withdrawn and defenseless. His phlegmatic response upon being confronted by Bendrix about their affair, showed a resigned helplessness that was both pathetic and believable.I enjoyed this film immensely and gave it a 9/10. It is finespun yet powerful. It takes its time unfolding, so if you like pace this film might test your patience. But if you enjoy a good old fashioned steamy love triangle, this film will do nicely.
The End of the Affair is based on the novel by Graham Greene.This film stars Ralph Fiennes as Maurice Bendrix, a novelist who had an affair with Sarah Miles,portrayed by Julianne Moore,during World War II.Sarah happens to be the wife of his best friend Henry,played by Stephen Rea.It was directed by Neil Jordan.Maurice Bendrix is the narrator in the film.On a rainy London night in 1946, Bendrix has a chance meeting with Henry Miles,husband of his former mistress Sarah. She abruptly broke off the romance in 1944, but two years later, after Maurice runs into Henry, he becomes obsessed with the <more>
affair and hires a man to investigate Sarah. He reads her diary of their forbidden romance in the midst of the London Blitz and discovers that, overwhelmed with fear and guilt, she pledged to God that she would end the affair if Maurice's life were spared. Maurice is determined to reintroduce himself into Sarah's life, but she fears that being near him would be too great a temptation.This film is an effective love story that's intensely old-fashioned.But nevertheless,it remains watchable as it is a thought-provoking film that was built around a theme many will find difficult to accept that miracles can happen to perfectly ordinary and non-religious people.Also,it greatly depicts the way a lapsed Catholic is surprised by grace and a defiant unbeliever is convinced to believe in God.Aside from that,the movie is filled with great performances from Fiennes and Moore.The only thing about this film is that it puts too much emphasis on lust having many explicit sex scenes instead on the inner conflict by the characters.
One of the most romantic dramas I have ever seen (by Catherine_Grace_Zeh)
Even though I've never read the book, THE END OF THE AFFAIR, in my opinion, is one of the most romantic dramas I have ever seen. If you ask me, Michael Nyman's score was absolutely romantic. In addition, I thought that the performances were superior, the directing was excellent, the costumes were perfectly designed, and the casting was perfect. Also, I was surprised that Julianne Moore sported her British accent. Kudos to Neil Jordan and everyone involved for a job well done. Now, in conclusion, if you are a fan of Ralph Fiennes or Julianne Moore, or you enjoyed Graham Greene's <more>
title novel, I highly recommend this movie. You're in for a feel good time, so see this movie today. You're in for a good time, so go to the video store, rent it or buy it, kick back with a friend, and watch it.
Thanks to the excellent performances this isn't just another romantic drama (by philip_vanderveken)
As so often, I haven't yet read the novel this movie was based on. So again, you can't expect from me that I make a comparison between the two. But even if I had read the book I don't think I would have talked about it, because this doesn't honor the many work and inspiration that the director has put in it. It's not because he uses an existing story, that what he does with it, has to be completely the same...Even though the largest part of the story is situated during the Second World War, it doesn't start there. We first meet the novelist Maurice Bendrix and Henry <more>
Miles, the husband of his ex-mistress Sarah, on a rainy night in London in 1946. For a reason we don't know yet, the affair between Bendrix and Sarah was abruptly ended by her, two years before, and since then they hadn't seen each other. Now Bendrix's obsession with Sarah immediately gets a new spark and out of jealousy he arranges to have her followed. That's when we learn the reason for their separation. During a bombing raid, Sarah made a bargain with God. She would sacrifice their relationship in exchange for Bendrix's life. He survived and that's why she didn't want to see him anymore. But when he reappears, she soon realizes that it will be very difficult to keep her promise to God...When you hear in the trailer that Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore are magic together, you might believe that this is just some nice promo talk, only intended for making you buy the DVD. But for once they really didn't exaggerate. Together they lifted this movie to a higher level, although it must be said that Stephen Rea did a very fine job too. The fact that they had a very good and well-written script to work with, must have helped them too of course. Some were not pleased with what they called a couple of 'soft-porn scenes' but personally I didn't have a problem with that at all. In my opinion this only added to the rawness of the emotions.Some will also say that this is an incredibly boring movie. Well, if you don't like or are not used to watching a movie without big action scenes, than this is absolutely true. If you are such a person, than you better leave it alone and choose something else. But when you like to see a quality product and no I'm not going to use the title 'art'-movie because I hate that name and this certainly isn't such a movie , with believable emotions, a great story and some excellent acting performances, than this might be a movie that you definitely should give a try. I really liked what I saw and that's why I give it a 7.5/10 at least, maybe even an 8/10.
In Greeneland, God writes the punchlines (by Philby-3)
This film tells the story of a wartime love affair between Maurice, a successful, cynical and rather callous novelist, and Sarah, the beautiful but neglected wife of a dull senior civil servant. She tends to believe in the supernatural, he does not, but both are spurred on by the danger of both discovery and the bombs raining down on London. Perversely, when her husband confides to Maurice his suspicion that Sarah is having an affair, Maurice hires a private detective to investigate, in effect, himself. In the end, it is God who decrees the finale, not the characters, who accommodate as best <more>
they can to their destinies.Do we really care? This is not easy to answer. Maurice, the narrator, is a prize prick, unfeeling of others, concentrated on his misery and his work, yet obsessively jealous. Sarah provides a focus for his substantial sex drive but he does develop an affection for her. Sarah, on the other hand, clearly likes a good bonk as well, but she needs the relationship to full the void left by her husband's emotional absence, and Maurice is too self-centred to be a real soulmate. She is also quite a nice person in comparison with nasty bitter old Maurice. So yes, we are sorry for her. We have to admire Maurice for being honest enough to tell the story but there is an air of self-flagellation about it. As a film, this is a terrific piece of work, directed by the Irish director Neil Jordan who was responsible for "The Crying Game". Greene is a very cinematic novelist - at last count there were at least 40 screen versions of his works - and Jordan has very cleverly used a present - flashback - present and then forward technique to tell the story from both Maurice's and Sarah's viewpoint. The gloom and danger of wartime London is effectively invoked but there was a bit of overkill in having it rain almost continuously from 1939 to 1945 London has less rain days than Sydney! It struck me early on that Ralph Fiennes was by no means inevitable in the part - I was reminded of the early Sam Neill. His character is really rather empty - a man whose only real commitments are to his work and sex. Julianne Moore, delightfully bad as Mrs Cheveley in "An Ideal Husband", and delightfully slapstick as the childish Cora in "Cookie's" Fortune", is much more sympathetic here. Stephen Rea a Jordan favourite as the cuckold is the most sympathetic of the lot or at least the most self-aware. He gives us a wonderful portrayal of stitched up dismay and yet it does not seem beyond the bounds of credibility that, knowing of the affair, he should invite Maurice to come and live with them towards the end.Greeneland is a pretty bleak place, but a couple of apparent miracles brighten things up. Greene clearly thought God had a sense of humour. The novel is said to be semi-autobiographical, but the real affair Greene had with the wife of a wealthy businessman, while no doubt equally painful, did not end so melodramatically as the novel. Looking at a biography of Greene by Michael Shelden I note that Catherine Walston, whose relationship with Greene was the chief inspiration for "The End of the Affair," died in 1978, aged 62, 13 years before Greene. According to Shelden, Catherine refused to see Greene on her deathbed because she didn't want him to see how sick she was. The affair itself petered out in the early fifties, though they remained in touch. Henry Walston, it seemed, asserted himself and demanded that Catherine cut down on her contact with Greene. Greene went overseas to find danger and forget, to Vietnam and elsewhere, and these trips produced at least one more major novel, "The Quiet American." However Greene's career as a writer peaked with "The End of the Affair." His later work is interesting and readable, but never again did he reach the same emotional depths and heights.Greene is often said to be a Catholic novelist but on the basis of this work at least he wasn't a great pitchman for the Almighty. Greene was, however, an eloquent portrayer of spiritual suffering and this aspect has been effectively brought to the screen by Neil Jordan. Perhaps it takes an Irishman to understand an English Catholic.
Warning! This review is unabashedly sentimental.I first saw this film in the midst of the strongest love affair of my life and thought it was a beautiful love story, with beautiful actors and beautiful music. I loved it because I was in love and it reinforced all those wonderful feelings.Then, almost masochistically, I rented it after the break-up of that same four year long romance and I loved it then as well for entirely opposing reasons. I could feel the bitterness of how cruel love can be when it's been taken away. Maurice Bendrix sp? became my sympathetic friend. I could feel why <more>
he pulled his hand away at the table -- too painful and too dangerous. Whereas when I saw it the first time, I just thought, "That cold b*stard! Why does he want to hurt her?" I felt his frustration at trying to slay a beast without a face. He didn't hate anyone or anything except his own awareness of the realities of love.The book and this successful cinematic adaptation paint the whole picture... 360 degrees. And I think it works from all the different perspectives. Love is the most wonderful emotion but it can also carry as much danger along with it as hate can. And there's no way to completely be in love, your guard let completely down, without risking your neck. If Bendrix could do it all again, would he do anything differently? Would he have stopped himself from falling in love with Sarah? Could he have stopped himself?I still appreciated many of the same things as I did the first time -- the acting of the leads and the strong supporting cast, the warm beautiful interior shots, the way the plot untwists ... but other things came to forefront on second viewing that slipped by the first time -- Maurice's little flashbacks on the stairway god, that's just how it is and the music! It seemed so benignly beautiful the first time I saw it, but it became almost too painfully intrusive the second time.Maybe I'll watch it again when I get a more neutral perspective on the whole matter. I wonder if we ever have that when it comes to love.