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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
Love and the spiritual life made beautifully visible.
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 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.
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