Time: 102 mins.
Academy Awards nominations for Best Actress (Moore) and Best Cinematography.
Not since THE ENGLISH PATIENT has a romance been released that ends as tragically and bitterly as this film. Fiennes and Moore play the doomed lovers, whose tentative grasp on happiness turns sour after a freak accident, ruining both their lives. Graham Greene's epic tale liberally mixes love, deception and religion in a story that is so despairing it's at times difficult to sit through. The film takes place just before, during and after World War II in London. Partly told in flashback, the plot centers on the jealousy of two men over the secret wanderings of Sarah the wife of one and ex-lover of the other. Moore plays the object of their desire, a woman in a sexually dead marriage to a mopey government official (Rea), who apparently finds the man of her dreams in Maurice (Fiennes), a young writer, who's only slightly less morose than her husband. In any case, they begin a passionate affair during the war that leaves both of them feeling fulfilled and happy despite the horrors and deprivation of the world around them. All seems to be going well for the couple until a stray bomb shatters their relationship into a miasma of betrayal and regret.
A chance encounter with Henry a few years later, reawakens Maurice's anger and jealousy. Believing the only reason Sarah would have left him was to be with another man, he agrees to hire a private detective to help Henry (and himself) discover who Sarah's been mysteriously meeting. What they find is that the man she's been seeing is servicing her spiritual needs, not her physical ones. A promise to God made in the heat of the moment when she thought Maurice was killed by the bomb placed Sarah on a course of righteousness neither man can understand. She believes God answered her pray to let Maurice live and that she must keep up her end of the bargain, which was to break off the affair, despite the pain and loneliness it brings. Maurice can't understand her newfound faith and begs her to reconsider. His life means nothing without her. Unfortunately for all of them, God takes the choice out of their hands.