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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
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 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.
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