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End of the Affair

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: End of the Affair

Starring: Julianne Moore, Ralph Fiennes
Director: Neil Jordan
Rated: R
RunTime: 105 Minutes
Release Date: December 1999
Genres: Drama, Romance

*Also starring: Ian Hart, Stephen Rea, Sam Bould, James Bolam, Jason Isaacs

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Review by Susan Granger
1½ stars out of 4

What a disappointment! Writer/director Neil Jordan, who gave us The Crying Game, Mona Lisa, and In Company of Wolves, totally misses the mark with this soggy romantic tale, grimly adapted from one of Graham Greene's most autobiographical novels. Looking like a leftover from the '50s, it's a staid, stodgy drama set during W.W.II, when the Nazis were bombing London and adulterous couples carelessly cavorted in bed instead of seeking shelter during the air-raids. One such couple is Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore. He's a moody novelist, tortured by jealousy, and she's a troubled married woman, trapped by circumstance in a dull, loveless marriage to a career civil servant, glumly played by Stephen Rea. They enjoyed many lusty encounters until, inexplicably, she broke off with him. The story explores how that happened and why. It would be helpful if we cared but we don't, because neither character is even remotely interesting and, without revealing too much, suffice it to say that the explanation revolves around Catholicism, the power of prayer, the existence of miracles, and the virtue of sacrifice. Julianne Moore spends considerable screen time cavorting naked, having shocked audiences with her full frontal nudity in Robert Altman's Short Cuts. She's actress who obviously enjoys anatomical revelation and seeks roles in which she can show her body off. Delicate, skinny Ralph Fiennes, on the other hand, suffers when his clothes are removed; plus, he seems totally self-absorbed which renders the love scenes lifeless, even depressing. This same story was filmed unsuccessfully before in 1955 with Deborah Kerr, Van Johnson, and John Mills. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The End of the Affair" is a plodding, dreary 4. It's a murky, misguided melodrama.

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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