Cast: Michael Douglas, Glenn Close and Anne Archer
Directed by: Adrian Lyne
Year of Release: 1987
Plot: A married man has a weekend fling with another woman. This turns out very unwise as his lover refuses to accept their ‘relationship’ is over.
Inspired by the 1980 short film Diversion, this classic movie’s story line says it all; a man faces the consequences of his infidelity. And not from his wife but from the woman he stupidly slept with while the missus and their daughter were away. And before male viewers out there grumble they are being unfairly picked on, they will be satisfied to know that several years later, Adrian Lyne directed another movie about a cheating spouse (the wife this time), Unfaithful. Moving on.
Fatal Attraction did very well in the box office the year it was released, with six Oscar nominations; one of which Best Supporting Actress for Glenn Close, who played Alex. Glenn Close really stole the show as the woman scorned but unfortunately was robbed of the Oscar she really deserved. Her reaction after being told the fling was over was spot on and her stalking and devious ways of getting back at Dan (Michael Douglas) will have you at the end of your seat, wondering what else she would do to him or his family. But while it clearly teaches men not to stray, it does stir some points to note.
Before you begin feeling sorry for him, remember it was Dan’s choice to cheat on his wife (Anne Archer), whom he professes to love very much. Why did he cheat in the first place? Out of boredom or there was something Beth couldn’t do for him in the marital bed? Probably the second one, since the sex between them was pretty much rough and personal opinion, cringe worthy. She even asked him, when they discuss his daughter and how long he has been married, 'Then what are you doing here?'
Dan and Alex have an agreement that’s it’s just a fling. Yet we see them happily running in the park with his dog, as though they were actually a couple and they have sex again afterwards. Some agreement! Dan had it all but he decided to be selfish and daring by exploring outside his marriage. Men!
And then suddenly, Alex; who at the beginning is the epitome of a successful, independent woman- she is an editor in a publishing firm- is suddenly the bad guy. She’s gotten so attached and obsessed with Dan. She slashes her wrists to stop him from leaving, and she constantly calls him and won’t leave him alone.
Her classic line, ‘I will not be *ignored*’ and said so calmly too indicates she would go to any lengths to keep Dan for herself and remind him who he was dealing with. Seeing her becoming more and more unhinged and psychotic was really scary to say the least; especially the part she unconsciously cut her own leg with a kitchen knife (which by the way Glenn Close kept as a souvenir). Dan was the one who acted irresponsibly by having an affair with her and he becomes the victim, while Alex is the psychotic witch he’s trying to shake off. Should we agree he’s the one who made her the way she turned out later, or was he simply unfortunate to pick a woman who had serious abandonment issues?
It’s only when Alex does a terrible thing to his daughter that Dan finally confessed to his wife. The rest of the movie has Alex reaching her breaking point and we see the final (and very memorable) climax.
Moral of the story? Simple... never cheat on your spouse.