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The End of The Affair: Movie Review

On a rainy night in 1946, novelist Maurice Bendrix (Ralph Fiennes) has a chance meeting with Henry Miles (Stephen Rea), husband of his ex-mistress Sarah (Julianne Moore), who abruptly ended their affair two years before. As the story unfolds we are drawn deeper and deeper into the mystery of why Sarah ended a relationship which seemed so overpowering and satisfying to both lovers.

Bendix suspects that Sarah has fallen in love with another man, and he even follows her to a rendezvous with her secret, new lover. This turns out to be, however, a classic case of mistaken identity. Indeed, Sarah has another relationship, but itís not with a man. The rival for Sarahís commitment is none other than God. Never have I seen a movie that comes closer to telling it like it is: that a relationship with the Almighty can be as powerful and compelling as a love affair with another human being.

Still, this movie is very much a mirror of the post World War II Roman Catholicism of Graham Greene, author of the book on which this film is based. From this perspective it is perfectly understandable that a passionate, but unhappily married woman could see her fate as being torn between an illicit love for another man and her love for a God to whom she could be faithful only were she to end the affair.†

More on The End of the Affair from Graham Greene himself.

And for a review of another film reflecting a more contemporary take on Roman Catholicism: Dogma

Charles Henderson

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The Rev. Charles P. Henderson is a Presbyterian minister and author of Faith, Science and the Future, published in 1994 by CrossCurrents Press. He is also the author of God and Science (John Knox / Westminster, 1986) which he is now rewriting to incorporate more recent developments in the conversation taking place between scientists and theologians. He has also written widely for such publications as The New York Times, The Nation, Commonweal, The Christian Century and others.

For further information about Charles Henderson.