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The End of the Affair

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From the acclaimed director of The Crying Game and Interview with the Vampire comes a romantic story of desire and betrayal. The setting is war-torn England, 1939. Sarah Miles (Julianne Moore) is married to Henry (Stephen Rea), a man she loves but with whom she shares no intimacy. When she meets Maurice Bendrix (Ralph Fiennes), the two have an immediate attraction for each other and embark on a torrid affair. Their passion is as earth-shattering as the bombs that explode around them, until the day Sarah mysteriously and abruptly walks out of Maurice's life. Two years later, Maurice runs into Henry, who confides his suspicions of Sarah's infidelity. Fueled by his own jealousy and desperate to solve the mystery surrounding the end of their own romance, Maurice agrees to help. His investigation not only re-ignites his love for Sarah but also leads him to discover a devastating secret whichwill change their lives forever.

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"This is a diary of hate," pounds out novelist Maurice Bendrix (Ralph Fiennes) on his typewriter as he recounts the lost love of his life in this spiritual memoir (based on Graham Greene's novel) with a startling twist. It's London 1946, and Maurice runs into his achingly dull school friend Henry (Stephen Rea with a perpetually gloomy hangdog expression). Their meeting is brittle, all small talk and chilly, mannered civility beautifully captured by director-screenwriter Neil Jordan (The Crying Game), and it only barely thaws when Henry suggests that his wife, Sarah (the luminous Julianne Moore), may be having an affair. Maurice's mind reels back to his passionate affair with Sarah during the war years, which she abruptly broke off two years ago. Gripped with a jealousy that hasn't abated, he hires a private detective (a mousy, marvelous Ian Hart) to shadow her movements. He prepares himself for the revelation of a rival but instead finds a deeper, more profound secret: "I tempted fate," she writes in her diary, "and fate accepted."

Jordan's cool remove captures the unease beneath formal manners but never warms into intimacy during the scenes between the lovers, even while Fiennes and Moore almost explode in repressed emotions, their faces cracking under their masks of civility and their resolve shaking through jittery body language. There's more thought than feeling behind this collision of passion and spirituality, but it's a sincere, richly realized portrait of ennui and rage against God energized by brief moments of shattering drama. --Sean Axmaker


Special Features

  • Making-Of Featurette

Product Details

  • Actors: Ralph Fiennes, Jason Isaacs, Julianne Moore, Samuel Bould, Ian Hart
  • Directors: Neil Jordan
  • Producers: Neil Jordan, Stephen Woolley, Anthony Pratt
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 16, 2000
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (143 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0767847415
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,144 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The End of the Affair" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

101 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Roland E. Zwick on July 24, 2000
Format: DVD
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.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Gina Marie Warswick on May 22, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
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."
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Ana Maria Barrenechea on May 22, 2000
Format: DVD
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.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Vince Perrin on August 30, 2005
Format: DVD
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.
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