The End of the Affair (1999 film)

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The End of the Affair
The silhouette of a man and a woman standing under an umbrella
Theatrical release poster
Directed byNeil Jordan
Written byNeil Jordan
Based onThe End of the Affair
by Graham Greene
Produced byNeil Jordan
Stephen Woolley
CinematographyRoger Pratt
Edited byTony Lawson
Music byMichael Nyman
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release dates
  • 2 December 1999 (1999-12-02) (premiere)
  • 21 January 2000 (2000-01-21) (United States)
  • 11 February 2000 (2000-02-11) (United Kingdom)
Running time
102 minutes
CountriesUnited Kingdom
United States
Budget$23 million
Box office$10.8 million

The End of the Affair is a 1999 romantic drama film written and directed by Neil Jordan and starring Ralph Fiennes, Julianne Moore and Stephen Rea.

The film was based on The End of the Affair, a 1951 novel by British author Graham Greene, which had been adapted as a film in 1955 with Deborah Kerr. The film depicts an extramarital affair which lasts from 1939 to 1946. It is set during World War II and its aftermath.


Novelist Maurice Bendrix narrates the film as he begins a book with the line, "This is a diary of hate".

On a rainy London night in 1946, Maurice Bendrix has a chance meeting with Henry Miles, husband of Maurice’s former mistress, Sarah, who abruptly ended their affair two years before. Bendrix's obsession with Sarah is rekindled; he succumbs to his own jealousy and works his way back into her life.

As the story unfolds in 1946, we also see flashbacks of Bendrix with Sarah as they began their affair in 1939. Henry tells Bendrix that he believes Sarah is having an affair, so Bendrix hires the bumbling but amiable Mr. Parkis, who uses his young birthmarked son Lance to investigate. Sarah asks Bendrix to meet to talk about Henry and the cold tentativeness of their interaction is contrasted with the passion of their earlier encounters.

Bendrix learns from Parkis that Sarah has been making regular visits to a priest named Father Richard Smythe under the guise of false dentist visits and he grows increasingly jealous. Flashbacks show Bendrix expressing jealousy of Henry and asking Sarah to leave him.

Though Sarah and Bendrix express love to each other, the affair ends abruptly when a V-1 flying bomb explodes near Bendrix's building as he is out in the hallway. Bendrix falls down a staircase and awakes later, bloodied but not seriously hurt. He walks upstairs, where Sarah is shocked that he is alive. Bendrix accuses Sarah of being disappointed that he survived and she leaves, telling him "Love doesn't end, just because we don't see each other".

In 1946, Parkis obtains Sarah's diary and passes it on to Bendrix; it shows the affair from her perspective. After Bendrix is hurt by the bomb, Sarah runs downstairs and finds him still and not breathing. After trying to revive him, she runs back upstairs and begins to pray for Bendrix's life. Just as she says to God that she will stop seeing Bendrix if he is brought back, Bendrix comes into the room.

Now knowing why Sarah ended the affair, Bendrix follows Sarah and begs her to reconsider. Sarah tells Bendrix that she has felt dead without him and can no longer keep her "promise" to God. Henry, who has figured out that it is Bendrix who was Sarah's lover, desperately asks Sarah not to leave him but, with more persuasion from Bendrix, Sarah agrees to go away with him for a weekend. Henry tracks the couple down to tell them that Sarah has a terminal illness.

Bendrix stays with Henry and Sarah over her final days. At her funeral, Parkis tells Bendrix that his son's birthmark went away after Sarah kissed it during a chance encounter. At Henry and Sarah's house, Bendrix completes his book and it is revealed that his diary of hate is directed toward God. While Sarah doesn't need to see God to love Him, Bendrix prays God will leave him alone, thereby finally acknowledging His existence.



The End of the Affair
Soundtrack album by
Released7 December 1999
Recorded10–17 August and 6 October 1999, Whitfield Street Studios, London
GenreSoundtrack, Contemporary classical, Minimalist music
LabelSony Classical
ProducerCameron Allan
Michael Nyman chronology
Nabbie's Love
The End of the Affair
The Claim

Michael Nyman later used "Diary of Love" to open and close his solo album, The Piano Sings (2006). As with many of Nyman's 1990s scores, he incorporates material from his String Quartet No.3, which was in turn based on a choral piece titled Out of the Ruins.

Track listing[edit]

  1. Diary of Hate 2:38
  2. Henry 1:46
  3. The First Time 2:16
  4. Vigo Passage 1:04
  5. Jealous of the Rain 5:29
  6. The Party in Question 3:45
  7. Intimacy 3:04
  8. Smythe with a "Y" 1:55
  9. Dispossessed 3:22
  10. Love Doesn't End 4:31
  11. Diary of Love 5:16
  12. Breaking the Spell 1:20
  13. I Know your voice, Sarah 4:10
  14. Sarah dies 3:01
  15. The End of the Affair 2:59

A contemporary recording of "Haunted Heart" by Jo Stafford is heard in the background during several scenes and the closing credits.


Critical response[edit]

The film holds a 67% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on reviews from 66 critics. The site's consensus states: "Neil Jordan has good direction with solid performances from Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore."[1] On Metacritic it has a score of 65% based on reviews from 22 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[2]


Julianne Moore was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress and Roger Pratt was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography. The film also got several nominations at the BAFTA awards, including Best Cinematography (Roger Pratt), Best Costume Design (Sandy Powell), Best Film (Stephen Woolley, Neil Jordan), Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Ralph Fiennes) and Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Julianne Moore). Neil Jordan won a BAFTA for Best Adapted Screenplay. Neil Jordan was nominated for the Best Director (Motion Picture) Golden Globe and Julianne Moore was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama.

Ralph Fiennes also won the best eyewear award at the GQ Men of 2000 Awards for the pair of National Health Service spectacles he sported in the film.[citation needed]

The film is recognised by American Film Institute in these lists:


  1. ^ "The End of the Affair (1999)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  2. ^ "The End of the Affair". Metacritic. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  3. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 19 August 2016.

Further reading[edit]

  • Tibbetts, John C., and James M. Welsh, eds. The Encyclopedia of Novels Into Film (2nd ed. 2005) pp 117–118.

External links[edit]