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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. Bendrix's obsession with Sarah is rekindled; he succumbs to his own jealousy and arranges to have her followed. Written by
Thanks to the excellent performances this isn't just another romantic drama
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 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.
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