The End of the Affair Reviews
Ralph Fiennes stars as novelist Maurice Bendrix who hires a private detective to spy on his former mistress Sarah Miles (Julianne Moore), following a chance meeting with her husband. The film then slowly fills us in on their once rampant affair, and contrasts it to their current situation, as secrets that had been carefully buried finally come to the fore in rather tragic circumstances. Pretty standard stuff, you might be thinking, and it is, however this is not the heartfelt period piece that Jordan was clearly aiming for. Regrettably he misses the mark, creating a film that initially feels very much like a quality drama, but soon begins to reveal its cracks and myriad problems.
The biggest of these problems is the way the story is told. I have no issue with the movie using flashbacks in its revealing of the characters' passionate pasts, but here they are used to tell the same story from two different perspectives. Though the final outcome changes, there is so much unnecessary repetition that it just appears lazy filmmaking, using the exact same scenes twice with a different narration. Add to this the idea that the characters are not as engaging as the film obviously thinks, and the effect of this whole exercise is wasted.
Thankfully some enjoyment can be garnered from the always reliable Moore. Her Oscar-nominated performance is easily one of the film's best aspects, as she convinces the viewer in her portrayal of a lovelorn Englishwoman stifled by repressed Catholic guilt and a joyless marriage. Honestly I could watch this woman all day, and this is exactly the type of role that she plays with such impressive ease. Opposite her Ralph Fiennes is watchable but fails to create much of a spark with his on-screen lover, while fellow Harry Potter alumni Jason Isaacs and Ian Hart also appear.
At the end of the day this isn't exactly a bad film, and from what I gather, it's a relatively faithful adaptation of the novel it is based upon. However while watching it's very difficult not to notice the missed opportunities and utter lack of passion in what is supposed to be a film based around a wildly sexual love affair. For this reason it ultimately fails in its purpose despite Moore's best efforts and a strong aesthetic.