“He doesn’t deserve you…” “I know.” Powerful words many women hear and take to heart, yet for others, it doesn’t mean a thing. The Affair named The Glass Room initially has so much happened in a calm yet suspenseful and much less romantic movie between Liesel and her friend Hana.
Set in the early 1930s in Czechoslovakia before WWII, it follows Liesel (Hanna Alstrom) and Hana (Carice van Houten), who are linked by a lifelong friendship and a unique, beautiful house built by architect Rainer Von Abt (Karel Roden) for Liesel and her husband Viktor (Claes Bang). Newlyweds Viktor and Liesel Landauer are filled with hope and excitement for their new home, but far too soon, the extramarital temptations bring out their deepest secrets and desires. Liesel turns to her sensual friend Hana for the love she lacks in her marriage. Nazi troops enter the country, threatening the Landauer’s lives and the burning desire between the two women. The film is directed by Julius Sevcik and is adapted from a book called The Glass Room by Simon Mawer.
Okay, there is a lot to unpack about in this movie to review, so let’s just get started. I want to start by saying that I enjoyed watching this movie and felt sympathy for Liesel and Hana and rooting for them to have a happy ending. Still, the film’s title, The Affair, didn’t fit with the movie, there were just hints of something between the women, yet nothing came of it. I kept waiting for what was supposed to be the “affair” that the trailer alluded to viewers. The film’s stunning cast brings undeniable chemistry that seeps through the screen and gives an aura of a dark, mysterious noir suspense thriller will little romance even though the film is indeed about an “affair.” Still, to me, it is more about the glass room than it is about the “affair.” The burning passion between Liesel and Hana is most certainly there, but it is the house that keeps them connected through distance and years apart and sending love letters that stopped getting received.
There was a melancholy presence from beginning to end that pretty much affected the entire watching experience. Don’t get wrong; it wasn’t a bad experience; it just felt dark. Maybe it was the feeling of WWII is coming, so something wrong is, of course, going to happen. As the movie went on, I appreciated that melancholy feeling kept the suspense alive throughout the film, even with the happy moments (the very few happy moments, I might add). However, the sadness concluded to me that I would get the happy ending for Liesel and Hana that I wanted, but it wasn’t going to be all sunshine and roses getting to that ending.
The movie’s description is told right away where the film would start and what time. However, after about 20 minutes into the movie, it gets to be a little confusing; the jumps between time made me wonder what time we in are now but then we get into WWII, and I’m back on track to follow again and then the next thing I know years have passed. I’m left to wonder what happened? The execution was seamless, so well done that I wasn’t even aware until after I few minutes that the time was different. Usually, it is not hard to tell when the editing process wasn’t done very well; it’s rushed work. I kind of like to know where I’m at in a movie, but it wasn’t too bad of an annoyance; it just flowed very nicely.
Let’s talk about the house for a minute. This may or may not have been what the director Sevcik was going for, but I couldn’t help but notice the house’s symbolism and what it represented. One day everything is perfect, and then the next to have disaster strikes, which practically happens to the house and the relationships these two women have with themselves and their spouses. As the suspense built up, the characters and the house fell into tension. Everything was interconnected around that house, which is another reason why the movie still should have been called The Glass Room because everything revolves around that house and very little about The Affair.
Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
I enjoyed watching The Affair, and the suspense was on point, and the acting was spectacular, but this movie didn’t feel like I could continually watch it; it felt like a one and done kind of film, and if it were to be watched again, it would be in the context of trying to review the movie or to see the fantastic cast that just shines in every way. Overall, if you care for the suspense and want to watch it multiple times, this is the movie for you, but if not, I would still watch it because it is worth your time but don’t feel the need to have to keep watching once the movie is over.