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USA 1987
Directed by
Adrian Lyne
119 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Fatal Attraction

Although let down by a generic resolution, Adrian Lyne's film is for the most part a gripping thriller, with two excellent lead performances by Michael Douglas and Glenn Close as respectively Dan Gallagher, a "happily" married man whose one-night stand turns into a living nightmare and the woman who stalks him. The film was a huge hit in its day and has entered the pop cultural lexicon as the paradigmatic test case for the foolishness of marital infidelity, at least for males.

James Dearden’s script builds nicely, shifting our sympathies between the two leads,  the depiction of the spiraling mess having real credibility as it moves from casual dalliance between two apparent consenting adults into full-blown insanity. Douglas and Close both give emotionally and physically intense performances with some blistering sex scenes and full-on punch-ups.  Notwithstanding I struggled with the casting of Close as she is not particularly good looking and, in the absence of any other motivation, it is hard to accept that Douglas’s character would be particularly interested in having a fling with her.  An actress such as Kim Basinger would have been more appropriate. Anne Archer, an actress of whom not a lot was heard of thereafter, strikes a nice balance as the loving and trusting wife.

The film, understandably so, received a good deal of negative response from feminists of the time for depicting a childless career woman as mentally unhinged.

FYI:  Apparently bad reactions from test screenings led to the replacement of anbut  ambiguous ending by the stock-standard but dubious heroization of the repentant husband.




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