In "The Affair" Courtney Vance gives a strong performance as a Black G. I. stationed in England during W. W. II who meets and falls in love with a married Englishwoman. It is a compelling story because it dramatizes how dangerous love, whether extra-marital or not, could be between a Black man and a White Woman. It should be recalled that during W. W. II black and white soldiers in the U. S. still served in separate divisions. Racism, though somewhat less pronounced, still was rampant within the U. S. military and with that came the usual strong prohibition against sexual relations between the races. However, war, perhaps more than any other setting, allows for all kinds of situations. It was within this volatile mix of war and entrenched racism that a Black G. I. meets and falls in love with a White Englishwoman.
This is a movie that engages its audience at many levels. It can be seen as a Romeo and Juliet type of love tragedy, as a cautionary tale of the effects of war on both soldiers and civilians alike or, finally, as a reminder of the long road that U. S. society had yet to travel on the road to racial equality. Unfortunately, U. S. society is still on this road and has not yet reached its end. Perhaps, fine movies such as this one can spur faster movement toward the end of the road where there lies the racial equality that MLK spoke of forty years ago.