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Unfaithful

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Unfaithful is a 2002 American drama thriller film directed by Adrian Lyne and starring Richard Gere, Diane Lane, Chad Lowe, Dominic Chianese and Olivier Martinez. It was adapted by Alvin Sargent and William Broyles Jr. from the French film The Unfaithful Wife (La Femme infidčle, 1968) by the noted director Claude Chabrol. It tells about a couple living in suburban New York City whose marriage goes dangerously awry when the wife indulges in an adulterous affair with a stranger she encounters by chance. According to actor Gere, an early draft of the screenplay, which he read several years ago, presented the Sumners as suffering from a dysfunctional sexual relationship. It gave Connie some justification for having an affair. According to the actor and to director Lyne, the studio wanted to change the storyline so that the Sumners had a bad marriage with no sex, to create greater sympathy for Connie. Both men opposed the change; Lyne in particular felt that the studio's suggestions would have robbed the film of any drama: "I wanted two people who were perfectly happy. I loved the idea of the totally arbitrary nature of infidelity." The Sumners' relationship was rewritten as a good marriage, with her affair the result of a chance meeting.

Lane's  portrayal of a woman caught by animal instinct and behaving on the borders of reason and risk is simply smashing at times. See, for example, the scene where she returns home on a commuter train after their first sexual encounter and alternates between exhilaration and despair. Lane's acting here is brilliant and is really Oscar-worthy. This is an unforgettable scene.

In the Los Angeles Times, the critic Kenneth Turan wrote, "The only performer who manages to get inside her character is Lane. Whether it's her initial half-distrustful tentativeness, her later sensual abandon or her never-ending ambivalence, Lane's Constance seems to be actually living the role in a way no one else matches, a way we can all connect to."

'Unfaithful' is a good  movie, until about ľ of the way through,  a solid "housewife fantasy", or, if you wish, a soft core porn for housewives.  On the surface this is a trite, pointless, dirty movie pretending to be more than that due to excellent actors. A movie in which a selfish spouse married to an equally self-absorbed man who murdered a young man who should have known better, but who certainly didn't deserve to die for his trangressions.

But there is some educational value in this Hollywood production.  Overall, it provides a surprisingly intelligent and moving look at infidelity and it's consequences on an otherwise stable and comfortable family. Passion that breeds from animal instinct only lasts one brief moment, when you lose your capability of thinking twice. The film offers an incisive look at the dynamics of the couples relationship as the affair progresses. What is demonstrated is the universal truth of the fragility of marriage.  Marriage requires fidelity, security and commitment, and few adults are capable on it in any sustained way. Each of us is lured by the prospect of adventure and risk-taking, especially if there is the promise of "sexual fulfillment" and the fantasy of secrets being kept. Like Fatal Attraction before it, the movie shows the difficulties of living a double life. It provide a much needed, in view of Hollywood glorification of sex, lesson that one should ot exchange a happy family life for a brief and exiting sex. The one big difference I'm sure is going to be restraint or the lack of it.

Adrian Lyne has succeeds once again in making a film about the consequences of an affair. Same say "Unfaithful" is a kind of role reversal of Lyne's earlier hit "Fatal Attraction". It might be accurate, but I don't think it's totally a fair comparison. Like his earlier smash hit, `Fatal Attraction,' Adrian Lyne's `Unfaithful' is a cautionary tale for would-be adulterers but with quite different key story. This is not a more typical affair of a man married to menopausal wife, no longer interested in sex. This is  more like attempt of an aging female to revive previous sexual excitement of her youth. With great risks for herself and her family. She is way entrenched in her upper middle class live to take the decision to divorce her husband. That last dialog is intended to underscore what devastating consequences the affair has had. It is NOT a discussion of possible alternative. The moment after the picture ends, the husband is going to surrender himself to the police. He really has no other choice.

Along with the cene in the train there is a "scene with two friends in a coffee shop which will perhaps finally put Meg Ryan's coffee shop scene to rest. Wow! All three women sparkle and Olivier Martinez play such a sexy bad boy. "

This is a fitting cinematographic commentary on the risks of infidelity. Here are quotes from  iMDB.com reviews:

Plot

Unfaithful (2002 film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Edward (Richard Gere) and Connie Sumner (Diane Lane) are a married couple living in New York City with their nine-year-old son, Charlie (Erik Per Sullivan). Their relationship is loving, but is lacking intimacy due to their schedules. One afternoon, Connie goes shopping for Charlie's upcoming birthday party. She is caught in a heavy windstorm, and runs into a handsome stranger (Olivier Martinez). They both fall, and Connie scrapes her knees. He offers to treat her injuries in his apartment, and she accepts. Inside, the man introduces himself as Paul Martel, a twenty-seven-year-old used book salesman. Paul makes small advances toward Connie, which makes her uncomfortable, and she decides to leave. Before doing so, Paul gives her a book of Persian poetry as a gift. After returning home, Connie tells Edward what happened, and he suggests they buy Paul a thank-you gift.

While reading the book Paul gave her, Connie finds his phone number inside. Connie calls Paul for his address, but he invites her over for coffee instead. Paul reads Connie a book in Braille amidst mild flirting. Connie, despite her feelings of attraction, leaves. Connie is unable to stop thinking about Paul, and decides to visit him with a bag of muffins. After Connie and Paul have a dance, she stops, saying she can't continue, and leaves. When she returns to retrieve her coat, Paul literally sweeps her off her feet and into his bedroom. While on a train ride home, Connie recalls their sexual encounter. She is thrilled by the sexual attention she is receiving from a younger man, but feels guilty at the same time. Connie uses her work at a charity event as an excuse to visit Paul more frequently, but Edward finds inconsistencies in her stories when he speaks with friends.

Edward, suspicious, decides to hire private investigator, Frank Wilson (Dominic Chianese), to follow her. Frank returns with pictures of Connie and Paul leaving a movie theatre, which devastates Edward. Connie's visits with Paul become more frequent, to the point that she is late to pick up Charlie from school. Following this incident, she realizes she can no longer carry on the affair. Unsuccessfully trying to end the affair over the phone, Connie decides it would be best to do so in person. She spots Paul with another woman when she arrives. After confronting Paul, their argument ends in a tryst in the stairwell. At the same time, Edward is standing outside Paul's apartment building, where Edward and Connie narrowly miss each other. Edward goes to Paul's doorstep and confronts him, revealing that he is Connie's husband. Edward asks to come into Paul's apartment, and after Paul invites him in, Edward is stunned to see a snow globe there, which he recognizes as a gift he gave to Connie for their anniversary. Paul reveals that Connie gave it to him as a gift. Edward hits Paul with the snow globe, fracturing his skull and killing him.

After wrapping Paul's body in a rug and cleaning up evidence of the murder and of his own presence in the apartment, Edward hears Connie leaving a message on Paul's answering machine, saying she must end the affair. Edward erases all the messages and leaves, putting Paul's body in the trunk of his car. Edward joins his wife at Charlie's school play, and afterwards, dumps Paul's body at a landfill. In the ensuing days, Paul's murder plagues Edward, who is unable to stop thinking about what he has done. When two police detectives arrive at the Sumner home, they explain to Connie that Paul's estranged wife had reported him missing, and that they had found Connie's phone number in his apartment. Connie claims she only bought a book from him. A week later, the detectives return and tell Connie and Edward that they had found Paul's body. When police ask her how she first met Paul, she replies that she met Paul at a fundraiser. To Connie's surprise, Edward corroborates her story. Later that night, Connie finds Frank's photos of her and Paul, and realizes that Edward knows about the affair. After noticing that the snow globe has been returned to their home, Connie deduces that Edward murdered Paul.

Connie and Edward argue and, out of anger and frustration, Edward says that he wanted to kill her instead of Paul. In the days that follow, while looking at the underside of the snow globe, Connie discovers a hidden compartment containing a photograph of her, Edward, and an infant Charlie, with a loving anniversary message from Edward. As Connie is burning the photographs of her and Paul in the fireplace, Edward says he will turn himself in. Connie objects, saying they will find a way to move on. The two then appear to go about living a normal life. One night, while driving, with Charlie sleeping in the backseat, Edward stops the car at an intersection. Connie whispers to Edward that they could leave the country and assume new identities, and Edward agrees to the idea. Connie then starts crying, and Edward consoles her. It is revealed that Edward has stopped his car near a police station, signifying the constant fear of retribution they will endure for the rest of their lives.

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[Apr 13, 2016] Unfaithful

whirligig from Trinidad, West Indies, 12 May 2002
not quite what I expected!

First off, I was quite surprised to see the cinema so full for this movie, even on opening weekend. I guess not that many movies for women in their 30's plus exist these days!

I expected this movie, as I'm sure many people did, to be a Fatal Attraction but with the genders switched around.

I was pleasantly surprised and shocked by it NOT being what I expected, and I definitely enjoyed it alot more than Fatal Attraction.

The summary of this movie is that Diane Lane's character starts cheating on her husband (Richard Gere) with a beautiful French man(Olivier Martinez). Everything else should be left for surprise.

The pacing of this movie is perfect. We got a sense of Connie and Edward's home life before she met the dashing Paul. They have a darling son, Charlie, who adds alot of humor to the movie, but in a non precocious way. After the affair starts we see Connie's feelings range from excitement to complete disgust with herself. And of course Edward inevitably finds out. His reaction is interesting, to say the least, and perhaps very honest.

The acting is great, especially from Diane Lane. The sex scenes are pretty raunchy, and made me uncomfortable at certain points, but it's interesting to see how different sex with the lover and sex with the husband were.

At the end of this movie I didn't feel cheated or robbed with some contrived ending (although others may argue differently). This film dealt with how being in an affair must feel, and how finding out you're being cheated on could make your react in uncharacteristic ways.

As a movie critic said, this movie will indeed make you never have an affair!

DK Bengel from Dallas, Tx, 3 February 2004

Drama as Art...

I have read alot of reviews here that expressed displeasure for this film based on the notion that this was basically "softcore porn for housewives" and had nothing new to offer it's audience. Ok, granted; this is not the most original film/script ever written, but I think that many reviews (both Professional and Ametuer alike) have missed the point of this film. Behind the obvious guise of a morality tale showing what can happen if you stray from your marital vows, there is a rather amazing piece of art to be seen. This film is not about marital infedelity, but, rather, about DRAMA.

This is what we in the Theater refer to as Drama As Art, meaning that the plot is less important than the impact that the various plot points have on the characters, creating more and more and more drama as the story unfolds. As is the great ballets or stage plays ('Giselle', 'Whose Afraid of Virginia Wolf', 'Swan Lake' 'A Streetcar Name Desire'), the DRAMA is the star of the production, not the actors or the plot lines.

And in this respect, 'Unfaithful' excells! Watch carfully as the world slowly turns itself upside down and rips itself to shreds around these two people based on a SINGLE MOMENT IN TIME (the first scene outside of his apartment: Should she go in? Should she go home? One choice, one moment in time, a world of difference).

Based on her choice(s), the drama begins to build to a point when, at the end of the film, the DRAMA is the star, not Geer and Lane. And Drama does a fine job holding this otherwise middle-of-the-road film above the fray.

Peter Pemberton (peterpemberton1@yahoo.com), 4 May 2002

A deeply haunting and provocative masterpiece. Stunning film-making.

Whoever thought that director Adrian Lyne and star Richard Gere were finished needs to see this haunting and provocative film. Because this is a stunner that will put both back on the map - big time. For all their star power though, it is the female star Diane Lane who must take huge credit for making this such an effective movie.

I've always liked Lane as an actress from when she was a kid in Francis Ford Coppola films, but she rarely got the chance to 'carry' a film. Well, she not only 'carries' UNFAITHFUL, she delivers one of the most haunting and powerful performances I have seen from an actress. Think Julia Roberts in ERIN BROCKOVICH or Ellen Burstyn in REQUIEM FOR A DREAM and you get the picture. Stunning acting.

While the committed performances are what make a great movie greater, it is Adrian Lyne who has constructed such a wonderful and effective rhythm and style to UNFAITHFUL.

This is not an art-film, but it is not a blockbuster either. It lays somewhere between the two and delivers on all fronts. I was totally glued to my seat from start to finish.

bondgirl6781 from Florida, USA, 22 October 2004

A film about human choices, lusts, and consequences

Adrian Lyne is fascinated by human sexuality and he presents it in a way that is adult but without being pornographic. Unfaithful tells the story of a perfectly normal and happy couple, Edward (Richard Gere) and Connie (Diane Lane). They look ideal: he is a very successful businessman, she is a wonderful and loving wife and mother to their young son, and they live in a beautiful home. Everything is perfect until one day Connie goes into the city to shop for her son's birthday party when a wind storm makes her bump into a handsome French librarian/book collector named Paul (Olivier Martinez). She is injured and unable to get a taxi, Paul helps her and when he was unable to get her into a taxi he offers her to come upstairs to his apartment to use a telephone and bandage up her injury. Connie is immediately attracted and fascinated by the handsome stranger, but nothing happens and she goes home but she cannot stop thinking about Paul.

She goes back and finds him. In the second encounter with Paul nothing happens but she still cannot stop thinking about him and it seems very obvious to Paul that he is also attracted to her. In the third encounter, Paul and Connie have sex and it is the beginning of a tumultuous affair that will set a chain reaction of guilt, jealousy, obsession, heartbreak, and murder.

I love how Adrian Lyne (very much like he did in Fatal Attraction) adds the human drama of the family breaking apart because of an infidelity. Connie was not looking for an affair and her relationship with Paul was the result of an accident.

We don't even question why Connie has an affair with this person. She did it out of impulse, out of lust, and for the pure excitement of how far she could take it until she realizes the effect it begins to have on her: she begins to obsess over Paul, she is hurting the man she truly loves, Edward, and she begins to see the toll it takes on her as a mother.

After another encounter with her lover she is late to pick up her son from school who is waiting for her on the steps of the school. We see the slow fall the family begins to take and we are even touched at the little child's innocence and how he never ever picks up the signals that his parent's marriage is breaking apart. The performances by the actors are especially effective particularly by the two leads: Richard Gere and Diane Lane.

Gere is heartbreaking in a role that plays opposite to the playboy image that made him famous as he plays the role of a man whose own world falls apart as he begins to suspect his wife's infidelity and his own humiliation begins to take a toll on him. He never even asks his wife if she is cheating but hires a private detective. The ending when he tells Connie that it was her that he hated and it was her that he wished would die...what a great Richard Gere moment! And of course there is Diane Lane: she was beautiful at 13 and she is beautiful today. She is magnificent in this role which was originally intended for actresses like Sharon Stone and Kim Basinger who were the original choices for the role of Connie. But one word describes Lane's performance: luminous.

The classic Lane moment was the scene with her on the train on her way home after her first sexual encounter with Paul. A scene that was shot only once and Lane's expressions changes from giddy, guilty, shameful, embarrassed, and excited as she cries and laughs and giggles. All of these expressions flashing through in a matter of seconds all in one shot!

The scene where she finds the pictures of her and her lover taken by the private detective; How she looks through them and waves of nausea, embarrassment, guilt, and absolute regret. The scene where she sits by the fireplace as she burns the pictures taken by the PI and she looks back and wishes that she had never gone up in the apartment and if she had just gone home.

Lane doesn't make us hate her character but at the same time doesn't really allow us to condone Connie's actions. She rather shows the audience that Connie is only a HUMAN being and she is not perfect and she made a mistake and that she feels lust and also feels guilt. It is a touching and sexy performance.

Even Olivier Martinez plays his role effectively. He is if anything an innocent. He didn't fall in love with Connie and he wasn't searching for anyone. He was simply fulfilling his own desires and hers and it aroused him, but his desires in the end made him the victim of a tragedy that didn't need to happen. He is also very sexy and very mysterious and what woman in the planet wouldn't lust after him! Unfaithful really plays itself out as a human story about lust and the consequences but it doesn't preach. It's message is that no one is perfect and everyone is only human and we respond to the basic human desires and needs but there is always a consequence for every decision or impulse made. An excellent film.

Chrysanthepop from Fraggle Rock, 15 July 2008

La Femme Infidčle

I wasn't expecting much from 'Unfaithful' as I thought it would be another 'The Perfect Murder' type thriller. But 'Unfaithful' is so much more than what 'The Perfect Murder' could ever be. It's deeper. It's darker. It has so many psychological layers. It's more a character driven drama rather than than plot driven. The plot may not be exactly original but it's the influence of it on the characters is what 'Unfaithful' is about. The film is very engaging as we witness the psychological effects of the consequences of Connie's decision. Lyne deserves praise for his excellent artistic execution. I loved how he used symbolism (such as metaphors and pathetic fallacies) and shows great attention to detail as is evident in the visuals. The editing is clear cut. Biziou's cinematography is great and Kaczmarek's score sets the tone.

Note that during the key moments, when the main characters are conversing, the background music is absent. Richard Gere and Olivier Martinez, though a little too old, do decent jobs. However, it is Diane Lane who gives a career-defining performance. Her sublime portrayal of the incredibly sexy Connie is awesome. She carries the film. It is Diane Lane and Adrian Lyne's film. 'Unfaithful' is a magnificent engaging artistic drama.

I don't understand why some were even harsh enough to call it soft-core. Do they even know the definition of soft-core? Others seem to have a problem with why Connie, who had the perfect life, would have an affair. But I feel it necessary to stress that nobody is perfect and therefore the perfect life does not exist. Connie's affair wasn't a planned thing. Who knows why it happened? Perhaps she wanted to feel younger, perhaps she was bored, or perhaps she wanted more from her husband. I don't think it was with the intention to ruin her 'perfect' life. There doesn't have to be a clear reason...as affair's don't necessarily happen for the best reasons.

LebowskiT1000 from Escondido, California, USA, 31 May 2002

Very Interesting Film

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The story in this film is pretty much exactly what I expected. I really liked that they made Richard Gere out to be a perfect husband and a very loving husband. You really feel for his character when he finds out about the affair. I thought Diane Lane did a great job as always and looks better than ever, she is one gorgeous woman. I thought Oliver Martinez did a good job too, I'd never heard of him till seeing this film.

There are a few things in the film that didn't sit well with me, but they were so minor that it's not worth talking about. And the scenes that I did like made up for it. There is one scene in particular that I just loved. If you've already seen the film, it's the scene after Richard Gere finds out about the affair. Also the ending is very interesting, I won't say it's bad or it's good, but interesting. You'll see what I mean when you see the film.

I will warn you though, there are some pretty intense/graphic sex scenes in this film, so be careful who you see this film with. I'm just saying that you may feel uncomfortable watching these scenes with certain people sitting right next to you.

All in all, I thought it was a very interesting movie, and the story was told quite well. I'm not sure if I liked this film better than "Fatal Attraction", but you can tell it's the work of the same director. I hope you like the film as much as I did. Thanks for reading.

-Chris

Gary M. James from United States, 8 February 2003

A great performance by Diane Lane

There is no such thing as an indifferent movie directed by Adrian Lyne. You'll either love it or hate it.

I liked "Fatal Attraction" though I prefer the original ending, not the revised, way-over-the-top, grade B shock ending. I was not impressed with his other hit "Flashdance". (I've chosen not to see "9 1/2 Weeks" and "Indecent Proposal" for various reasons.)

Many viewers have said that "Unfaithful" is simply a role reversal of Lyne's earlier hit "Fatal Attraction". It might be accurate but I don't think it's totally a fair comparison.

I felt that the affair between Connie Sumner (Diane Lane) and Paul Martel (Olivier Martinez) was just a basic physical attraction. It was a need that, for some reason, was not met with her husband. At the same time, the affair became more of an addiction for Connie. There's no love at all in that relationship. There is love between Connie and Edward (Richard Gere) but from what is presented on the screen, their love is on low tide. They certainly took each other for granted.

What impressed me the most about "Unfaithful" was that director Lyne and screenwriters Alvin Sargent & William Broyles, Jr. (adapted from Claude Chabrol's "La Femme Infidčle") did not shy away from the consequences of having an affair. There was no easy out for Connie and Edward and no tidy endings.

Gere was O.K. That's not to say he was bad. He didn't impress me very much. It was odd but rather interesting to see him play this rather drab, nerdy character. Something to consider: if the movie was remade in the late 70s or early 80s, Gere definitely would've played the other man.

I was angry at Connie for having an affair and betraying her family. I also felt some sympathy toward her: She was not a bad person. She's basically a good person who made some very bad choices.

One sequence that stood out for me (and apparently for many others) was when Connie is on the commuter train heading back home after her second encounter with Paul. Her facial expressions are so subtle but also tells more about what's going on with her with no dialog. The reactions range from excitement to anger to resignation to fear.

(In the Special Features section of the DVD, check out the interview with veteran film editor Anne V. Coates. She brings an interesting perspective on how she was able to edit the sequence.)

Diane Lane has received many well-deserved accolades for her performance. It's perhaps her best adult performance in her career which started in 1979 when she was just 14 in the wonderful comedy/drama "A Little Romance".

"Unfaithful" has a few weaknesses but luckily they are overshadowed by the film's many strengths, especially Diane Lane.

Roland E. Zwick (magneteach@aol.com) from United States, 11 May 2002

Intriguing but flawed (spoilers)

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Like his earlier smash hit, `Fatal Attraction,' Adrian Lyne's `Unfaithful' is a cautionary tale for would-be adulterers. More muted and less of a rabble-rouser than the previous film, this new work provides generally good, solid entertainment within the confines of its overworked genre.

In terms of the plot, `Unfaithful' is really `Fatal Attraction' viewed from the other side. In this case, it is the wife, not the husband, who becomes the philanderer, and the betrayed spouse, not the odd-angled home wrecker, who becomes the killer. Richard Gere and Diane Lane star as Edward and Connie Sumner, a seemingly happily married couple who live with their son, Charlie, in a bucolic suburb of New York City. One day, in the midst of an urban windstorm, Connie literally bumps into a handsome French hunk named Paul Martel (Olivier Martinez) with whom she ends up having an affair. Paul's nationality is probably no arbitrary plot point since the Alvin Sargent/William Broyles Jr. screenplay is based on Claude Chabrol's famous 1969 film `La Femme Infidel.'

As a director, Lyne certainly knows how to spin a good yarn, and, despite the fact that everything that occurs on the screen seems conventional and familiar, we are, nevertheless, drawn into the emotional plight that this attractive woman finds herself going through. As with all films of this type, `Unfaithful' features the obligatory scene wherein the adulterous party bumps into her gossipy girlfriends within a stone's throw of the new love interest and has to pretend that everything is hunky dory and peachy keen in her marriage. We also have the inevitable sequence in which the bold lovers are passionately making out in a restaurant while an acquaintance of the woman, unbeknownst to her, is busy taking copious mental notes of the proceedings. I also find it interesting that movies featuring female adulterers as main characters always seem to have an inordinately high number of scenes set on commuter trains. This convention goes all the way back to the 1940's and David Lean's great film `Brief Encounter' and can be seen in 1984's `Falling in Love' with Meryl Streep as well. It's just an observation, for what it's worth.

Much of the success of `Unfaithful' can be attributed to Diane Lane, who manages to make her character both believable and touching, even in those moments when she is seen as being at her least morally attractive. Though we may reject what she is doing on an intellectual level, we can certainly identify with the immense internal struggle she is going through between intense, physical passion on the one hand and a sense of duty to husband and family on the other.

Had the movie been content to play out the story in a more realistic way, it might have avoided the disappointment that comes in the second half. I guess that the filmmakers felt that trying to resolve this dicey situation without resorting to melodrama would make for less of an impact at the box office, so we are confronted with the inevitable shift to a crime thriller scenario. In a way, the filmmakers are to be congratulated for at least toning down this aspect of the plot, which – as it did in `Fatal Attraction' – could easily have spiraled off into over-the-top excess. Yet, for some odd reason, the result of this subtle approach is, paradoxically, to give to the movie an unformed and unfinished feel, as it dribbles away into a lady-or-the-tiger copout ending.

Although Lane does a beautiful job capturing the subtle emotional nuances of her character, the same cannot always be said for Gere, who comes across as stiff and stodgy much of the time. Even worse is Olivier Martinez, who barely registers at all in the poorly written part of the dashing young lover. In all fairness to the actor, however, one should note that he isn't really given much to work with here. The real scene-stealer turns out to be young Erik Per Sullivan, the youngest brother from `Malcolm in the Middle,' who lights up the screen with his unaffected, good-natured charm.

It's been a long time since I've seen Chabrol's `La Femme Infidel,' but I remember feeling, as I was watching that film, that, despite the fact that the story itself was conventional and almost hackneyed, I was in the hands of a master artist who could make me see truths contained in the material that I had never perceived before. Lyne's film, though involving at times, never gets close to that level of mastery and insight. `Unfaithful' has its moments, but it ends up settling for competency at the expense of artistry.

mppullar from Melbourne, Australia, 28 March 2003

Ludicrously underrated

Every now and then, I read a review of a film which is so drastically different to my own reaction to it that I wonder if we have watched the same film. This is the case for almost EVERY review of "Unfaithful". Aside from the occasional positive comment that I have read by other IMDB users, and the glowing review given by Margaret Pommeranz on the (Australian) "Movie Show" (four and a half stars, if I remember correctly), this film seems to have met with either negative or ambivalent reactions from everyone. And this surprises me immensely, because I was overwhelmed by it. I expected quite a good, slightly arty film with good performances (particularly from Diane Lane, who really impressed me in Coppola's "The Cotton Club"). What I got was a film which I think will be one of my favourites for many years to come.

The criticisms that I have read of "Unfaithful" don't confuse me because they disagree with me. I can accept that - no really, I can, although I don't see how anyone could miss the brilliant acting (one user comment said that any Hollywood actress could have done Diane Lane's performance - well, I DO look forward to the J.Lo remake in a few years), or the amazing photography, this being one of the most lush and seductive films I have seen in a long time. It's the way in which the reviewers have seemingly missed the entire point of the film, or fell asleep half-way through it.

Firstly, I will concede that Connie's motivations were unclear (although I'd call it subtlety, rather than poor scripting), but they weren't as unclear as many people would have you believe. Nor did Lyne simplify the relationship between Connie and Paul (someone called him Marcel - perhaps they DID watch another movie, or just couldn't spell his surname) - in fact, I would suggest that anyone who thought Connie was willing to sleep with the first guy she met would do well to rewatch this film and see the way that her mind works (or do you need a voice-over narration in addition to Lane's phenomenal performance?).

In addition to this, I have read complaints about nudity (because apparently has no place in an erotic drama/thriller), technical problems (the reviewer who mentioned this loved the movie, but had issues with constant shots of the entire microphone, shots which he/she found very hard to ignore, but which I managed to miss completely) and the apparently "cliched" narrative. In response to the latter, I don't want to give anything away, but this film, although addressing a common topic (ie. adultery), is by no means a traditional Hollywood film, and certainly doesn't treat the topic in the same way that every other film has.

Many may find the ending unfulfilling, but I can't comprehend the idea of it being cloying and unoriginal. And even if the narrative itself is conventional, the way in which it is handled by cast, director and technical crew (if you can forgive the microphone shots, I suppose) puts it so far above any of its counterparts as to warrant a much warmer reception than it seems to have been given.

Diane Lane deserved the Oscar for this, without question. Unfortunately, her film came in a year when every single Best Actress nominee was of nearly equal quality. As you can see, I liked it - and wish that more people felt the same way about it. The only suggestion I can offer is that, if you have yet to see it, then don't go into it expecting a standard thriller - in fact, it can be quite slow-moving at times. But let it be what it is, because it does a damn good job at that.

jm_boulay from USA, 8 June 2002

A solid drama

Don't go see this movie based on the fact it's labeled a thriller. Even though it includes a murder (which is not even premeditated), it actually is a drama and centers more on the damage caused by the affair.

Unfaithful shows an emotional depth rarely found in mainstream movies, and the common nature of the subject (who hasn't seen unfaithful people around them?) makes it all the more involving for the audience. The film is an acting tour de force, especially on Diane Lane's part.

Her portrayal of Constance Sumner, a housewife torn between the attraction she feels towards a predatory Frenchman (Paul Mortel, portrayed by Olivier Martinez) and the guilt she feels because of it is stunning. The scene where she returns home on a commuter train after their first sexual encounter and alternates between exhilaration and despair is unforgettable. Paul Mortel is reckless and causes her to take all sorts of risks of being discovered as their affair progresses, which makes her struggle to maintain the appearance of a normal life all the more interesting.

Richard Gere also gives a good performance as the husband who crashes down to earth after first suspecting and then obtaining confirmation of what is going on.

The movie has some weaknesses. For example, I am wondering why the police detectives couldn't get a listing of the people who called at the victim's apartment on the days before the murder. They would certainly have been able to establish a connection with the murderer. The movie also does not have an explicit ending, which may not please some viewers.

However, Unfaithful is worth seeing just for the acting, and tends to sit on your mind long after you've seen it, a bit like Hitchcock's Vertigo. You'll think twice before having an affair now.

Swangirl from United States, 10 March 2003

Except for Gere, just plain awful

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My first beef with this movie is to the marketing/ad department for making this film seem like some "suspense/thriller" that involves some element of mystery. Let me dispell that myth. There is none. The ads are basically lies.

This movie is about adultery, plain and simple. If you get a thrill from watching lots of movie sex (apparently many people here do), then this film is for you. Lane and her movie lover have plenty of it in various places all over Chicago.

Connie (Lane) and Edward Sumner (Richard Gere) seem to have it all. He's a successful engineer and she's a homemaker/Junior Leaguer. They live in the typical movie house in the movie suburbs with the typical cute movie child. That part of the comparison to Fatal Attraction is true. Only in this movie, the child is a boy and his rabbit isn't boiled. He does wear a rabbit costume in his school play, which I found hilariously ironic.

As in Fatal Attraction, a spouse has a fling for reasons that can't truly be fathomed. Edward is no slouch and is an attentive husband. The kid is too cute for words. But for some reason, she falls into instant lust with Paul, a smoldering-eyed French bookseller. And that's all it is. Lust. Oh, and he quotes from his various books, too.

At least in Fatal Attraction, Michael Douglas' character realizes he's been an idiot. Connie Sumner (Lane) never truly does. I guess that's because she's "living freely" or "soul searching". Never mind that she destroys her family and probably gave her husband herpes. This is the MOVIES where STDs or unplanned pregnancies never happen!

*SPOILERS*

With little regard for her marriage or family, Connie dives into a series of "nooners" with Paul. They don't talk much but they don't need to since sex is what brings them together. She takes horrific risks and doesn't seem too concerned about it. If there had been some kind of exploration of their relationship, what made her take such risks with him, I might have enjoyed this movie. But you don't get anything like that here. Sex is the answer to Connie's woes.

Edward, bewildered at his wife's lack of focus at home and (her new sexy shoes), starts sniffing around. He doesn't confront Connie. No, he confronts Paul. And kills him with a snowglobe. His attempts to hide it and dump the body are comical. He never really gets mad at Connie. No, he's trying to protect his family. Nothing much ever gets said about Connie's infidelity. Poor thing.

*END OF SPOILERS*

Diane Lane has gotten plenty of kudos for this movie. I'm not sure why. She looks like she's having a great time having sex, especially against a bathroom wall. Does that take much talent? To some, I suppose. She gets a charge out of wearing new sexy outfits for her lover. She doesn't mind lying to her family or forgetting to pick up her son at school. I guess that's what people call "good acting" these days. Not in my book.

Gere, despite the awful script, tries to do what he can. He and the cute movie kid are about all that I liked about this film.

If you're looking for a suspense/thriller, please avoid this film. If you enjoy movies with lots of meaningless sex, you'll love this one. Then again, there's plenty of that around.

Victor Bloom MD (vbloom@comcast.net) from United States, 17 May 2002

Emotionally gripping, powerful acting, strong plot

This film is mindful of two other dramatic films recently: "The Deep End" and "In the Bedroom." In these three movies there is a murder or accidental death and its impact on what seemed to be a solid, well-established marriage.

What is demonstrated is the universal truth of the fragility of relationships, even when there is a seeming calm and stability on the surface. Marriage requires fidelity, security and commitment, and few adults are capable on it in any sustained way.

Each of us is lured by the prospect of adventure and risk-taking, especially if there is the promise of sexual fulfillment and the fantasy of secrets being kept. The movie shows the difficulties of living a lie and a double life. Most often, the result of unfaithfulness is disastrous.

The acting is superb, especially that of Diane Lane. Richard Gere, though more passive, soft-spoken and laid back, is the perfect foil. The psychological truth is revealed that these seeming quiet and restrained people can explode, given great provocation.

The moral of the movie is that the risk of an affair is hardly worth the trouble, but there are many such movies, plays and novels and people take the risk anyway. We wonder why, each in his or her own way. The movie is nothing if not provocative and stimulating. And there
is no gratuitous sex or violence.

paul_johnr from New York, 9 May 2010

Lyne's 'latest' film

Compared to other directors of his ilk, Adrian Lyne's résumé is extremely short. From his debut film 'Mr. Smith' in 1976 to 'Unfaithful' in 2002, Lyne has only nine titles to his credit. This has been a matter of quality over quantity: Lyne is selective with his material to the point of being overtly fussy, but it encourages his painstaking detail and thorough execution.

As a prime example of the gaps in Lyne's biography, 'Unfaithful' is still his most recent film after eight years. The film seems an epilogue to his long-time focus on sexual relationships that peaked with 'Nine ˝ Weeks' and 'Fatal Attraction,' both major successes in the 1980s. 'Unfaithful,' using similar material, was also a top box office attraction despite mixed reviews from critics; it has pocketed $122 million worldwide and an Oscar nomination for Diane Lane's performance.

Lyne had long admired the work of French director Claude Chabrol, particularly in his 1969 drama 'La femme infidčle,' which became the starting point for 'Unfaithful.' For years, Lyne tossed around the idea of building on Chabrol's theme, but left matters alone. This changed, however, when the premise of 'La femme' was expanded by writers Alvin Sargent ('Julia,' 'Ordinary People') and William Broyles Jr. (TV's 'China Beach'). This new screenplay gave the affair considerably more detail and told the story with a frankness that is only nowadays possible.

The plot of 'Unfaithful' is painfully simple, yet it touches upon a great many emotions and sentiments. Diane Lane plays Connie Sumner, a suburban New York housewife who has been married for several years to Edward (Richard Gere), the owner of an armored car company. Connie has borne one child, a son named Charlie (Erik Per Sullivan), who attends grammar school. The middle-class family appears stable and free of conflict, but it is painfully ordinary: the large house, the Mercedes, and the shaggy dog look far too neat for problems not to exist beneath the surface.

Connie is a former city resident who has yearned - at least in fantasy - for the bohemian life that Paul Martel (Olivier Martinez) represents. Martel is an antiquarian book dealer who plies his trade from a Manhattan loft. In striking relief to Connie's loving but dull husband, Martel embodies a raw, unbridled sexuality that draws her interest. Through a chance meeting on the street, Connie and Paul settle into an affair that is far more carnal than affectionate.

With a husband and son waiting at home, it is only a matter of time before things start to unravel and hearts are broken. Infidelity is a topic worked to death by cinema, which made 'Unfaithful' a considerable risk to produce. Sargent and Broyles, however, tell the story from both Connie and Edward's viewpoint, leaving empathy for both characters. Tension also reaches high levels through the screenplay's effective plotting and dialogue.

Diane Lane's performance was nominated for several acting awards, including the Oscar and Golden Globe. All three adult leads are very good, but Lane is the person who truly shines. Her performance is intense, nuanced, and without a moment's doubt of her character. Gere and Martinez are effective, particularly in a key scene where the two gentlemen meet. Lyne has done superb work in converting Gere from his usual grittiness to a more vulnerable figure.

The one substantial flaw of this movie is that Paul Martel does not entirely work as a character. We have seen the French man of mystery a bit too often and Olivier Martinez is forced to climb uphill against the sarcasm that his character draws. Luckily, Martinez takes firm hold of the material and works to dispel the stereotype. It also seems that Erik Per Sullivan deserved more screen time as the couple's son, but he fills the child role excellently.

Music duties went to Jan A. P. Kaczmarek, who has since won an Academy Award for 'Finding Neverland' in 2004. Kaczmarek's soundtrack uses regular orchestration, is unobtrusive, and effectively colors the given scenes. 'Unfaithful' is also the first Lyne project edited by Anne Coates ('Lawrence of Arabia,' 'Becket'). Cinematographer Peter Biziou ('Nine ˝ Weeks') has returned to Lyne after an extended absence and costume designer Ellen Mirojnick ('Fatal Attraction,' 'Jacob's Ladder') stays on board.

'Unfaithful' is frequently aired on television and there are plenty of DVDs to get your hands on. The 2002 release from 20th Century Fox is packed with extras, including a film-length commentary track with Lyne, commentary from Lane and Martinez on specific scenes, 11 deleted scenes with Lyne's remarks, cast interviews, a 15-minute featurette on Unfaithful's production ('An Affair to Remember'), and an editing featurette with Coates.

The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) with Dolby 5.1 surround sound. Dubbing is offered in Spanish and French, along with subtitles in Spanish and English. Both the video and audio of 'Unfaithful' are solidly treated. Lyne's commentary offers useful background on the production, especially on why scenes were dropped or changed. The deleted scenes include a moralistic ending that was pushed by 20th Century Fox executives but later dropped in favor of Lyne's version. Decades on, adultery is still a popular subject for filmgoers and Lyne's newest project (not to mention Lane's performance) is definitely worth seeing.

*** out of 4

(poorlittlerichboy@hotmail.com) from New Zealand, 7 January 2004

A well-constructed dramatic thriller featuring a stunning performance from Diane Lane.

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

UNFAITHFUL (2002)

THE GOOD:

MAJOR SPOILERS

--The cast all turn in impeccable shows. Richard Gere was great as the jealous but ultimately sad husband. But the star here is Diane Lane, who gives one of the best performances of 2002. She gave a compelling, daring performance playing an unfaithful woman ultimately regretting the sins she's committing but unable to stop committing them. Her best acting moment was the sex scene flashback on the train; her facial expressions and body language that show Constance remembering the love making session were amazing.

--The interaction with Oliver Martinez and Diane Lane was so very real and I felt the connection between them. Lane and Martinez's chemistry was fabulous and their multi-layered relationship was intriguing, though I did have a problem with some aspects (see THE BAD). The most intriguing was how Constance began to 'crave' Paul and his love.

--While the movie works as a drama and a romance, Adrian Lyne is also a natural in the art of making thrillers, and he shows that perfectly here. The scene in which Edward (Gere) kills Paul (Martinez) was shocking and very involving. I loved the haunting sound effects that blared over the speakers as Edward, teary, tried frantically to decide what to do.

--The final scene of the film is very moving, bringing the married couple together at once and really giving us some depth to their relationship. The writing also suggests many possible outcomes for the conclusion of the film, but it was the right decision not giving us one because it adds that great afterthought I love with films.

THE BAD:

--I found this movie slow and a bit boring at the beginning. The slowness and boring scenes could've been treated with scenes or suggestions as to why Constance is actually cheating on her husband. The romantic relationship between Constance and Paul is terrifically acted but feels a little underdeveloped at the beginning because Constance seems only to be cheating because he's a good-looking guy who is charming. I would've liked it if there had been some actual trouble in the marriage that triggered the cheating.

--Erik Per Sullivan is so very annoying, and the scene where his mother admits the unconditional love for him is very cliché and seen-it-all-before stuff.

RATING:

8/10 - Though it does have a slow start, "Unfaithful" remains a top-class drama/thriller featuring some terrific performances and great writing skills.

IF YOU LIKED THIS MOVIE I RECOMMEND:

American Beauty (10/10) Cape Fear (9/10) A Perfect Murder (7/10) The Perfect Storm (6/10) Wild Things (8/10)

Diane Lane a fortysomething sex symbol

Telegraph

Nights in Rodanthe is, in fact, the third film she has made with Gere - she first starred opposite him as an 18-year-old in Francis Ford Coppola's 1984 homage to the jazz age, The Cotton Club. Indeed, it is easy to forget, given Lane's comparatively late rise to fame, that she was a child star. At the age of 14 she was cast alongside Laurence Olivier in A Little Romance (1979). He was so impressed that he compared her to a young Grace Kelly. By the time she was 20, she had made 10 feature films, three of them directed by Coppola. Scripts continued to roll in throughout her twenties and early thirties, but she never managed to capitalise on her early promise. Or rather, the films she chose - Chaplin (1992), Judge Dredd (1995), Jack (1996) - let her down, because the one constant throughout her career, whether she has been cast in a hit or a flop, has been the quality of her acting - to which her many glowing reviews attest.

Recommended Links

Diane Lane - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Adrian Lyne - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Softpanorama hot topic of the month

Softpanorama Recommended

...

Richard Gere - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Diane Lane a fortysomething sex symbol - Telegraph



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