THE AFFAIR - He Said, She SaidOctober 12, 2014

THE AFFAIR - He Said, She Said

The Affair (Showtime)

On Demand Weekly provides new reviews of hot movies and shows on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: “The Affair” (Showtime).

A perfect life: four beautiful, healthy children, a gorgeous, funny, smart, sexy wife, a newly published book, a brownstone in New York City and an estate on the beach in the Hamptons at which to summer. So you’re a little sexually frustrated because, well, four kids, and the summer house (and the money that paid for the brownstone) are really your smugly successful father-in-law’s, but it really is a perfect life. Why would you even be tempted to do anything to mess that up? That is both the question and the answers in “The Affair”, Showtime’s new series debuting October 12th.

Dominic West ("The Wire") is Noah Solloway, the man with the perfect life. He is tall, dark, and handsome, but in a rugged/sensitive way that would make him catnip for any predatory female. However, you get the sense he is not easily distracted away from his wife. His wife, Helen, is played by Maura Tierney, whose warmth and intelligence radiate out of her every pore.


Dominc West, The Affair (Showtime)

The other couple whose lives collide with the Solloways are Allison Bailey and Cole Lockhart. Their life is not so perfect. They are barely holding onto their folksy beachside full time home in the rapidly fancifying Hamptons with its weekend estates for the very wealthy. They are also mourning the death of their little boy. Allison works as a waitress in the local diner, which is where she first encounters the Solloways. Ruth Wilson (SAVING MR. BANKS) and Joshua Jackson ("Fringe," "Dawson’s Creek") are well-matched for Dominic West and Maura Tierney.


Ruth Wilson, The Affair (Showtime)

Since Helen (as played by Maura Tierney) is so utterly flawless, it would take quite an actress to be able to portray a character lovely enough and sympathetic enough to make it believable that someone married her would consider cheating on her. Ruth Wilson is well up to the challenge. With her incredible bone structure, her beauty is ethereal, but her tiny overbite brings her down to earth in a very sensuous way. Since her husband is portrayed by the handsome and lovable Joshua Jackson, it makes it hard to believe Allison could be drawn to anyone else. Yet, the attraction of Allison and Noah is obvious, and, at least so far, neither come off as bad people.

Told in a Rashomon-style showing the same events as remembered differently, "The Affair" isn’t in a hurry to get to the action. Instead it lets us get to know the characters, as experienced by Noah and Allison (at least it is their points of view in the first episode). It’s fascinating to see how each remembers the other as much smoother and cleverer than they remember themselves being. Retelling from varying aspects is an intriguing concept for a television series, and except for the heavy-handed voice-overs, it works well.


We know from these portentous voice-overs though, that something BAD is going to happen. Running through every scene are undercurrents and eddies of simmering change. It is no accident that the setting is the beach. It’s an obvious, but apt (and picturesque) metaphor.

The Hamptons setting doesn’t mean this is a Revenge-type soap. This is a study of deeply complex characters and how their interactions cause ripple effects that change everyone around them, and so far, not an evening gown in sight!






- Jean Tait


Jean Tait is a contributing writer to On Demand Weekly. Currently the Director of Programming for the Connecticut Film Festival, Jean has programmed for the Jacksonville Film Festival and Sundance Channel.


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