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The End of the Affair

Maurice and SarahSarah & MauriceSarah & MauriceSarah & MauriceStephen Rea co-stars as Henry MilesMaurice and Sarah


On a rainy London night in 1946, novelist Maurice Bendrix has a chance meeting with Henry Miles, husband of his ex-mistress Sarah…

Release Year: 1999

Rating: 7.0/10 (11,579 voted)

Critic's Score: 65/100

Neil Jordan

Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Julianne Moore, Stephen Rea

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.

Writers: Graham Greene, Neil Jordan


Ralph Fiennes

Maurice Bendrix

Stephen Rea

Henry Miles

Julianne Moore

Sarah Miles

Heather-Jay Jones

Henry's Maid

(as Heather Jay Jones)

James Bolam

Mr. Savage

Ian Hart

Mr. Parkis

Sam Bould

Lance Parkis

(as Samuel Bould)

Cyril Shaps


Penny Morrell

Bendrix's Landlady

Simon Fisher-Turner

Doctor Gilbert

(as Dr. Simon Turner)

Jason Isaacs

Father Richard Smythe

Deborah Findlay

Miss Smythe

Nicholas Hewetson

Chief Warden

Jack McKenzie

Chief Engineer

female stockinged feet


Official Website:
Sony Pictures [United States] |

Release Date: 10 December 1999

Filming Locations: Brighton, East Sussex, England, UK

Box Office Details

Budget: $23,000,000


Opening Weekend: $198,535
(5 December 1999)
(7 Screens)

Gross: $10,660,147
(19 March 2000)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?


Miranda Richardson and Kristin Scott Thomas were both considered for the role of Sarah Miles, before Julianne Moore personally wrote a letter to director Neil Jordan, asking for the part in the film. Her method worked, and she was offered the role.


When Mr. Parkis enters the apartment and Bendrix is shaving, the shaving cream changes more than once between the various edits.


Pain is easy to write. In pain we're all drabbly individual. Now what can one write about happiness?

User Review

beautiful romantic film


One of the great joys in movie watching lies in stumbling across films that,
by their very nature, should be nothing more than clichéd, hackneyed
versions of stories we have seen a thousand times before yet, somehow,
through the insightfulness of their creators, manage to illuminate those
tales in ways that are wholly new and unexpected. Such is the case with
Neil Jordan's `The End of the Affair,' a film that in its bare boned
outlining would promise to be nothing more than a conventional,
three-handkerchief weepie centered around the hoary issue of romantic
infidelity, but which emerges, instead, as a beautiful and moving meditation
on the overwhelming force jealousy, love, commitment and passion can exert
on our lives.

Ralph Fiennes stars as Maurice Bendrix, a British writer living in 1940's
London, who has an affair with Sarah Miles (Julianne Moore), the wife of
Maurice's friend, Henry (Stephen Rea). Based on a Graham Greene novel, the
film achieves far greater intellectual and emotional depth than this
skeletal outline would indicate. Part of the success rests in the fact that
both the original author and the adapter, writer/director Neil Jordan, have
devised a multi-level scenario that utilizes a number of narrative
techniques as the means of revealing crucial information to the audience
regarding both the plot and the characters. For instance, the film travels
fluidly back and forth in time, spanning the decade of the 1940's, from the
initial meeting between Bendrix and Sarah in 1939, through the horrendous
bombings of London during World War II to the `present' time of the post-war
British world. This allows the authors to reveal the details of the affair
slowly, enhanced by the even more striking technique of having the events
viewed from the entirely different viewpoints of the two main characters
involved. `Rashomon' – like, we first see the affair through the prism of
Bendrix's limited perspective, only to discover, after he has confiscated
Sarah's diary, that he (and consequently we) have been utterly mistaken as
to the personal attributes and moral quality of Sarah all along. Thus, as
an added irony, Bendrix discovers that he has been obsessing over a woman he
`loves' but, in reality, knows little about.

The authors also enhance the depth of the story through their examination of
TWO men struggling with their overwhelming jealousy for the same woman and
the complex inter-relationships that are set up as a result. In fact, the
chief distinction of this film is the way it manages to lay bare the souls
of all three of these fascinating characters, making them complex, enigmatic
and three-dimensional human beings with which, in their universality, we can
all identify. Bendrix struggles with his raging romantic passions, his
obsessive jealousy for the woman he can't possess and his lack of belief in
God, the last of which faces its ultimate challenge at the end. Sarah
struggles with the lack of passion she finds in the man she has married but
cannot love as more than a friend, juxtaposed to the intense love she feels
for this man she knows she can never fully have. In addition, she finds
herself strangely faithful, if not to the two men in her life, at least to
two crucial commitments (one to her wedding vows and one to God) yet unable
to fully understand why. Henry struggles with his inadequacies as a lover
and the strange possessiveness that nevertheless holds sway over him. Even
the minor characters are fascinating. Particularly intriguing is the
private investigator who becomes strangely enmeshed in the entire business
as both Bendrix and Henry set him out to record Sarah's activities and
whereabouts, a man full of compassion for the people whom he is, by the
nature of his profession, supposed to view from a position of coldhearted
objectivity. (One plot flaw does, however, show up here: why would this
man, whose job it is to spy on unsuspecting people for his clients, employ a
boy to help him who sports a very distinctive birthmark on one side of his

`The End of the Affair' would not be the noteworthy triumph it is without
the stellar, subtly nuanced performances of its three main stars. In
addition, as director, Jordan, especially in the second half, achieves a
lyricism rare in modern filmmaking. Through a fluidly gliding camera and a
mesmerizing musical score, Jordan lifts the film almost to the level of
cinematic poetry as we sit transfixed by the emotional richness and romantic
purity of the experience. `The End of the Affair' takes its place alongside
`Brief Encounter' and `Two For the Road' as one of the very best studies of
a romantic relationship ever put on film.