7.1/10
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The End of the Affair (1999)

Trailer
0:34 | Trailer
A desperate man tries to find out why his beloved left him years ago.

Director:

Neil Jordan

Writers:

Graham Greene (novel), Neil Jordan (screenplay)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ralph Fiennes ... Maurice Bendrix
Stephen Rea ... Henry Miles
Julianne Moore ... Sarah Miles
Heather-Jay Jones Heather-Jay Jones ... Henry's Maid (as Heather Jay Jones)
James Bolam ... Mr. Savage
Ian Hart ... Mr. Parkis
Sam Bould Sam Bould ... Lance Parkis (as Samuel Bould)
Cyril Shaps ... Waiter
Penny Morrell Penny Morrell ... Bendrix's Landlady
Simon Fisher-Turner Simon Fisher-Turner ... Doctor Gilbert (as Dr. Simon Turner)
Jason Isaacs ... Father Richard Smythe
Deborah Findlay ... Miss Smythe
Nicholas Hewetson Nicholas Hewetson ... Chief Warden
Jack McKenzie ... Chief Engineer
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Storyline

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 Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The end was just the beginning.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for scenes of strong sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film that Maurice and Sarah see is 21 Days Together (1940). Graham Greene, the author of novel on which The End of the Affair is based, co-wrote the script for 21 Days, although the name of the film they see in the novel is never mentioned. See more »

Goofs

When Henry and Bendrix embrace, Henry puts his arm around Bendrix twice. See more »

Quotes

Sarah: Love doesn't end, just because we don't see each other.
Maurice Bendrix: Doesn't it?
Sarah: People go on loving God, don't they? All their lives. Without seeing him.
Maurice Bendrix: That's not my kind of love.
Sarah: Maybe there is no other kind.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Discovering 'Evil Dead' (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Hurry Home
Written by Joseph Meyer, Robert D. Emmerich and Buddy Bernier
Performed by Bert Ambrose and His Orchestra (as Ambrose and His Orchestra)
Sung by Denny Dennis
Courtesy of The Decca Record Company Ltd.
Under license from The Film and TV Licensing Division of The Universal Music Group
See more »

User Reviews

 
In Greeneland, God writes the punchlines
18 March 2000 | by Philby-3See all my reviews

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 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.


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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 January 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The End of the Affair See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$23,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$198,535, 5 December 1999

Gross USA:

$10,827,816

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,827,816
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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