The End of the Affair is an adult love story; an adulterous love triangle between a wife, a lover and God, set in 1940s Britain.The lover is a jealous novelist (a perfectly cast Ralph Fiennes), who wants to know why Sarah (the quietly radiant Julianne Moore) abruptly ended their affair. He suspects another man and bullies Sarah's civil servant husband Henry (Stephen Rea, occasionally overdoing the hang-dog expression) into hiring a private investigator to find out. When director/adaptor Neil Jordan is true to the semi-autobiographical Graham Greene novel on which the film is based, the results are sublime. Jordan doesn't film The End of the Affair as a quaint period piece; instead, Greene's material is brought to life to resonate with contemporary audiences.
The last third of the book is taken up with Sarah's diary entries. Jordan uses her diary to show us the affair from Sarah's perspective, but too many of these scenes feel (or are) identical to material from earlier in the film and the repetition becomes wearying. Worse, Jordan strays too far from Greene's novel and contrives a more drawn-out conclusion, milking the material for pathos and creating absurdities where there were none.Apart from Fiennes and Moore, the real stars of The End of the Affair are Anthony Pratt's production design, Sandy Powell's costumes and Roger Pratt's cinematography. Despite the flawed ending, their combined efforts make seeing this film on the big screen a must.