The affair

Maybe I missed something, but was there some justifiable reason (other than sheer lust) for the short-lived affair between Ray (Hoskins) and Amy (Mirren)? Everybody loved Jack, he was Ray's best friend, and Jack remained madly in love with his wife -- his only "shortcoming" being his refusal to have anything to do with daughter June.

If there's no real answer to my question (that is, if I didn't indeed miss something) then I consider that to be sloppy filmmaking. Essentially, it seems the affair was thrown in just to make the film a bit "juicier", with no real redeeming value.

For that matter, it's consistent with the whole manufactured "conflict" between Vic and Lenny. There seemed to be little or no basis for their head-buttings as well.

I know that contrived situations for the sake of melodrama are a Hollywood staple, but for me, they totally detract from a film's appeal.


I suspect that Ray had been in love with Amy for most of his life and only married Carol because Amy was already taken.

Carol seems to have been a rather cold fish. Even though Ray bought the camper in hopes of spending more quality time with her and rebuilding their marriage, all she could do was complain about the money he'd spent. So after she left him for someone else, it was only natural that he and Amy should turn to each other, however briefly.

I even think that Jack intended for Ray to take care of Amy after he was gone. So Ray and Amy will go to Australia, Ray will reconcile with his daughter Sally, and all will end happily for at least one couple.


I only read the novel and it all made sense. maybe the movie was not able to transport that.


The conflict between Lenny and everyone is not "manufactured." Vince impregnated Sally and dumped her; she aborted the child and never recovered from the trauma. Lenny bears a grudge because Sally has had drug problems and has lived with unsuitable men. Vince turned in one of the boyfriends to the police for kiting a check.

Lenny and Jack have conflict because Lenny felt that the Dodds' lorded their economic status (store v. market stall) over him, as evidenced by the fact that they took Sally to the seaside when he couldn't afford to do so. He finds Amy a snob and is pleased that his daughter is intact while the Dodds' is disabled, yet he still thinks Amy uses other children (Sally, Vince) as replacements for her damaged

Lenny is annoyed at Ray because Ray is "lucky" (good office job, wins at horses) while he is "always pissed [drowning his sorrows] and always late [misses opportunities to improve his life]."

Lenny has hostility toward Vic because Vic's life seems so easy to him. Vic went into his father's "undertaking trade" and has respectful sons from a stable, successful marriage to carry on the family

Lenny is disappointed in his life, much as Jack is, but for different reasons and unable to rise above it and try to be happy as Jack has done.