|May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)|
|Contents||Bulletin||Scripting in shell and Perl||Network troubleshooting||History||Humor|
|News||Books||Female Sociopaths||Recommended Links||Psychopaths in Movies||Understanding Borderline Rage||Divorcing Borderline Psychopath|
|Dangerous Liaisons||The Last Seduction||Fatal Attraction||The Devil Wears Prada||Six ways to say No and mean it||Negative Politeness||Rules of Verbal Self Defense against Corporate Psychopaths|
|Communication with Corporate Psychopaths||Fighting Corporate Psychopaths||Observing and Documenting Behavior of Corporate Psychopaths||The Hare Psychopathy Checklist||Authoritarians||Humor||Etc|
Fatal Attraction (1987) is a classic among films depicting violent BPD and female psychopath. It depicts well the details of borderline personality disorder: the self-delusion, the emotional coercion, the complete disintegration of logic and final loss of control. It was built up from a short film by screenwriter James Dearden. This is one of three Adrian Lyne films that depict infidelity, the other two are Unfaithful and Indecent Proposal. It is an educational movie though I prefer the original ending (available on special collector edition DVD), not the revised, way-over-the-top, grade B horror movies commercial ending, which replaced the original to milk the public. Glenn Close's abrupt spiral into insanity and violence during the last third of Director Lyne's Fatal Attraction is the weakest part of the movie. Actually violence is not very typical for female BPD, but self-harm is.
Fatal Attraction is a 1987 American psychological thriller film directed by Adrian Lyne and starring Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, and Anne Archer. The film centers on a married Manhattan man who has a weekend affair with a woman who refuses to allow it to end, resulting in her becoming obsessed with him. The film was adapted by James Dearden from an earlier 1980 short film by Dearden for British television, Diversion.
2002 DVD release. Adrian Lyne provides a commentary to the film, and there is about 10 minutes of rehearsal footage featuring Glenn Close, Michael Douglas and Anne Archer.
The cast and crew provide interview cuts for three featurettes. “Forever Fatal: Remembering Fatal Attraction” runs about a half hour and provides a 21st century retrospective of the film, including the decisions on what to cut and how to release the film. “Special Attraction” is a ten-minute featurette about the film’s cultural impact at the time, including the somewhat bewildering backlash from feminist groups. “Visual Attraction” is a 20-minute featurette that includes interviews with the crew on how the film’s look was developed.
Wrapping up the special features is the much talked-about original ending to the film (which is nowhere near as powerful as the re-shot ending, and also suffers from pacing and chronology issues) and the original theatrical trailer, both presented in high definition.
It contains several very educational scenes, that can be viewed several times as a teaching aid. Look, for example, at this dialog. Kind of interesting approach to "grooming" the target in seduction by implicit promise of secrecy and lack of any consequences from "recreational sex":
Alex Forrest: You must have to be discreet.
Dan Gallagher: Oh, god yeah.
Alex Forrest: Are you?
Dan Gallagher: Am I what?
Alex Forrest: Discreet?
Dan Gallagher: Yes, I'm discreet.
Alex Forrest: Me, too.
It also helps to understand Borderline Rage. The rage of BPD personalities can be the result of feeling neglected and abandoned (Borderline Personality Disorder Abandonment and Rage Psychological Healing):
You will find that your whole being is given over—consciously or unconsciously—to inflicting hurtful revenge on the world around you for neglecting your emotional and physical needs.
In essence, this rage is a dramatic attempt to “get back at” the person who injured you. Even masochistic self-abuse (also called self-mutilation) can have a component of this revenge. In cutting, for example, you let out your rage in slow, “controlled” doses; in seeing your blood, you see yourself showing your wound—your life’s blood—to the “Other” who, you feel, has disavowed the value of your life.
So, too, attempts at suicide are attempts at revenge. “I’ll show them! Maybe when I’m dead they will realize how miserably they’ve treated me!”
Of course, suicide can also have the component of a desire to silence the rage. Drugs, alcohol, and sexuality can also be used to “silence” the rage. But none of these attempts to distract your attention from your rage can ever be successful. What is rage, after all, but an infant crying because she has been abandoned? Ignoring her and walking away won’t silence her crying. The only way to soothe her is to pick her up and find out what she needs—precisely what your parents didn’t bother to do.
It is also a movie about male infidelity (compare with Unfaithful which is about female infidelity). A middle-age crisis may be experienced by a woman or a man between the ages of 40 and 60 and may lead to infidelity. A lack of sexual desire in married middle aged men is normal (they already performed their biological function ;-), and in men may be a symptom of erectile dysfunction or low testosterone levels. A common symptom of a midlife crisis is restlessness and a desire to change life circumstances. Most men suffering from a middle-age crisis feel bored with their current job, with wives, etc. Women feel unfulfilled with their current life too are are less prone to marital infidelity. So, we can assume that middle age crisis encourages infidelity in men... I mean morally weak, selfish man. At least in Fatal Attraction, Michael Douglas' character realizes he's been an idiot. He realizes that what he did is not only wrong but will be his downfall. Psychological panic of this character is interesting to watch.
And betrayals is what humans do in marriages. Several other films are exploring the nature of middle aged male sexuality in light of recent "evolutionary biology hypothesis". The hypothesis that can be stated simply: "marriage is a fortress continually under siege" as some researchers hypothesized that middles age men became attracted to younger women as they instinctively feel that their wives are past active reproduction cycle. This film, although addressing a common topic (adultery), deviates from traditional Hollywood narrative of glorifying sex. It certainly doesn't treat the sex in the same way as standard Hollywood movie, where the possibility of infecting the other spouse with herpes, or, worse, more serious STD are blissfully ignored. And unplanned pregnancies never happen! Here the producer did not shy away from the possible consequences of having an affair
The truth of humans duplicitous nature, is not something everybody wants to think a lot. Most people prefer to lie to themselves about their sexual behavior and especially their hidden sexual desires. Even though not everyone has had an affair, many people have thought and fantasized about it. This film touches the possible consequences if such a fantasy materialize for anyone who has been in a relationship for a while. It hits the nerve as "what-if" scenario. But at the same time, this is the moment were moral qualities of a man come into play. A struggle of human nature between the stability of monogamous marriage and intermittent moments of passion...
None of the problems are typically solved by an affair. An affair, or any similar escapist behaviour, typically only complicates the current relationship and extract very high price for escaping the tedium of "normal" married life. And unfortunately, it breaks many other things, including possibly the marriage itself.
As Julianna Margulies who plays a betrayed wife in a pretty good "law" serial "The Good Wife" reflected on the theme "sex is dangerous" in one of her interviews to Harpers (Interview)
One of the things I wanted to convey to these students is to live your life truthfully
So this "tale of middle age male infidelity" is the second underlying story of the movie, although the "sexual object" typically is much younger. Which makes the movie valuable not only for those people who are mainly interested in female sociopath topics, but also in marital infidelity topics. In a strange fashion the film teaches viewers the great value of "old style" male fidelity in marriage ;-). The value of sex for a forty something man with decent university education is way exaggerated in American culture in any case ;-). In reality it is probably somewhat closer to the value of fast food at this particular age (chances for a middle aged man to get a heart attack or stoke with a "sexual interest" is much higher then with a wife; more in he has chronic age-related diseases such as diabetes ;-). Of course, Hollywood sells sex as the best thing since sliced bread creating a glamorous sexual fantasy world where the sun always shines, regular guys sleep with Hollywood starlets in Versace clothing, nice handbags and high heels. And (with enough Viagra, as the sexual drive is not was it used to be ;-) everyone can have a wonderful sex, with three orgasms per day. In a way we may miss movies from early Hollywood without blatant nudity, sex scenes and special effects. Sex euphoria that Hollywood sells (and gets a very good money for) actually influence people behaviour. May be Dan Callagher viewed way too many such "inspiring" Hollywood movies. Or was addicted to Internet porno-sties
This film probably did more for a return to monogamy than any modern STDs, such as AIDS :-). The movie does falls apart near the end, but apart from this, the scripting is masterful and dialogues are well written. All the lead actors have done an amazing job in portraying each characters in the first half of the movie.
Glenn Close who play the central heroine of the film was quoted in 2008 as saying,
"Men still come up to me and say, 'You scared the shit out of me.' Sometimes they say, 'You saved my marriage.'"
The plot is trivial -- it is about adultery of middle aged married man, with the classic beginning then such a person picks up a little-known but eager (in this case a psychopathic) woman when his wife is out on vacation with his children. So this "wife of vacation" adultery story. There is no positive main characters. Everyone is "damaged goods" in this film, just like in real life. Everybody at the end is a victim and I wonder what would happen with them after. NOTE to film editor: just because the male lead is over 50 you don't have to show us him having rabid sex like a teenager.
But at the same type everyone makes mistakes. So "holier then you" attitude to such things does not help iether. It is more rational to treat such events as a typical "breach of trust"
Any act which is in violation of the duties or a trustee or of the terms of a trust. Such a breach need not be intentional or with malice, but can be due to negligence.
In the movie, Dan somehow managed to preserve his marriage, in real life your mileage may vary.
Look on the DVD and "special editions" for the filmmakers' original ending, which is much better
and in which the traitorous hero pays more dearly for his philandering. Sex can't be right answer
to mid life crisis ;-).
The character of Alex Forrest has been discussed by psychiatrists and film experts, and has been used as a film illustration for the condition borderline personality disorder. The character displays the behaviors of impulsivity, emotional lability, frantic efforts to avoid abandonment, frequent severe anger, self-harming, and changing from idealization to devaluation; these traits are consistent with the diagnosis, although generally aggression to the self rather than others is a more common feature in borderline personality disorder. Some have instead considered the character to be a psychopath.
As referenced in Orit Kamirs' Every Breath You Take: Stalking Narratives and the Law, "Glenn Close's character Alex is quite deliberately made to be an erotomaniac. Gelder reports that Glenn Close 'consulted three separate shrinks for an inner profile of her character, who is meant to be suffering from a form of obsessive condition known as de Clérambault's syndrome' (Gelder 1990, 93—94)".
The popular term 'bunny boiler', used often to describe an obsessive, spurned woman derives from the scene where Alex boils the pet rabbit.
There's a very sly scene early in the movie where Beth is seen in bed with their 6-year-old daughter Ellen, forcing Dan to sleep elsewhere. Presumably Ellen is scared or just can't sleep, and yet when Beth informs Dan it'll just be for that one night, you can detect a sense of disgust from Dan--clearly, Dan's feeling unsatisfied in his marriage.
Anne Archer is good as Beth, who is twice victimized, first by her husband's betrayal and then by Alex's campaign of terror. She also take control of the situation at the end of the film threatening to kill Alex is she got near her house again. and at the "happy end" variant of the ending she killed Alex with a revolver shot (the initial ending is much better, but did not survive text audiences screening).
Let's put the legitimate question "Why this middle-aged, respectable lawyer so recklessly betrayed his wife ?" Is this just a stupid (for high IQ person) reaction to his middle age crisis? Is this due to corrupting narcissism of the Reagan's "Morning in America" eighties? Hollywood movie is a Hollywood movie, and sex (as in "the more the better") is an important part of the illusions of the American Dream.
May be he is simply brainwashed accordingly and just try "to meet the expectations" ;-). Does the name Eliot Spitzer tells you something ? Here is the info from Wikipedia:
On March 10, 2008, The New York Times reported that Spitzer had previously patronized a high-priced prostitution service called Emperors Club VIP and met for two hours with a $1,000-an-hour call girl. This information originally came to the attention of authorities from a federal  Spitzer had at least seven or eight liaisons with women from the agency over six months, and paid more than $15,000. According to published reports, investigators believe Spitzer paid up to $80,000 for prostitutes over a period of several years while he was Attorney General, and later as Governor.
Spitzer first drew the attention of federal investigators when his bank reported suspicious money transfers under the anti-money laundering provisions of the Bank Secrecy Act and the  The resulting investigation, triggered by the belief that Spitzer may have been hiding bribe proceeds, led to the discovery of the prostitution ring.
Marriage is a social mechanism directed toward finding acceptable compromise between the needs of the society and our "animal" instincts. Something is gained and something is lost in any marriage, but this world is far from being perfect in any case. This is similar to compromise that is taken when one decides for forgo some pleasures and go to do hard work learning a specialty at the university and than became a respectable member of the community. Forgoing far more pleasurable alternatives (with the chances eventually becoming a street bum.) Such as smoking pot, binge drinking and sexual orgies.
Similarly, it might be better to marry "the best partner you can find within your mating period" and maintain that marriage against temptation and your animal instincts. As old-fashioned as it sounds. It's important to understand that after such incident a "good wife" suddenly wakes up and thinks, "What about me? Fuck you bastard. Do you know how hard I am working? I've provided dinner for all of you, washed all the clothing, I worked as a housecleaner, I did this, I did that. And now, as a reward for all this service, you're sleeping with ...? How would I close my eyes now and feel love for this person in an intimate moment? God, I couldn't do it."
In this sense, I see the misadventure of Dan Callagher as an violation of the key principle "no matter what hand of cards you're dealt in your life, you need to carry your cross". And you need to do it with stoicism and honor. You can't resist your sexual impulses during midlife crisis and desperately want a better babe -- OK. Get a divorce and try again. Changes the you fail the second time are actually much higher.
Also Dan Callagher was dealt not a bad hand in this life poker in any case. And still he is not satisfied. This is how "masters of the universe" think. He thinks that he deserves more (compare him with the hero of Bonfire of the Vanities ), another typical "master of the universe". So this movie is about human greed too.
If this well educated lawyer does not understand that his wife should lost a large part of sexual attractiveness to him (as he for her), and that's what happens in marriages all the time (with bonds to children replacing initial sexual bonds) he is an selfish person. And if he decided to "fix" that the way he did, he is just a moral weakling and coward. Entitlement, selfishness and a lack of empathy are three main factors which drives cheating. And they are not reserved for sociopath only. In modern marriage the partner has a choice to leave the relationship, but typically they are far too cowardly and selfish (when they have kids it's harder, but none the less this is still true).
In this sense it is important to understand that Dan Callagher is the negative hero too. In other words, the only main character who looks at least slightly positive is his wife, who is pretty schematic.
The essence of the plot is that happily married with a child New York lawyer Dan Callagher who is probably is in a kind of midlife crisis and is not satisfied with his family life (or just sexual relationship with his wife) decided to stray. Again, this is the story about betrayal of trust by Dan Callagher. While from pure "no crime should be unpunished" view he got a harsh punishment for his transgression, he still is presented in a pretty positive light in the movie. Which is wrong. It is actually unclear if this incident was the first for him. At the beginning, his attitude to his affair is classic "sh*t happens; it's over, anyway". If you encountered a sociopath, this is a very wrong attitude, because your troubles only beginning. Not only in movie but in real life too. This is only a beginning (compare with The Good Wife, where the hooker gets on TV and intends to publish a book with lurid description of the main hero sexual adventures) . Unfortunately the movie has a typical Hollywood happy end when the wife instead of kicking the hero out for all those troubles decided to forgive him (probably hoping that after such an encounter he is immunized from new affairs). In real life not all wives behave this way.
Let's return to the plot. So the hero is looking for an affair. He got his lucky chance after one Saturday office meeting, as it was raining after and his new female acquaintance took him under her umbrella (literally and figuratively). He saw her only two times, once is a corporate event and that second time at this meeting, still despite being a lawyers he decided to have an affair with this woman. Actually Glenn Close does not look too attractive or young (there is theory that older man are attracted to younger women because their spouses are now at the post reproductive period of their life; so called Spitzer defense -- see Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).
At this point the full responsibility of the decision to have an affair is on Dan Callagher. Despite being depicted as a talented lawyer, he made a very bad move... It's pretty educational to watch the Douglas character's rising psychological panic when he started to understand the consequences of his Saturday night affair as movie progresses...
Notice Glenn Close' envy. She's envious. Jealous at her target's perfect family. Also notice that the more Michael Douglas rejects Glenn Close the more she stalks him. She can't handle being rejected. She becomes an obsessed, vindictive, completely out-of-control, raging nightmare. (By the way, I have never had any personal experience with a single-stalker. Only gang stalking. And gang stalking is a lot more subtle, insidious and scheming).
The ambivalence and confusion that come with infidelity is also depicted quite well. Those things hit the other spouse like a ton of bricks, like any serious betrayal of trust. Perhaps not all marriages can be saved after such an encounter but this is Hollywood.
I would like to stress, that this "talented lawyer" went to the bed (and engaging in unprotected, wild sex putting the woman on a kitchen washer; the scène is really overdone and looks like from porno movie) with a "not-so-attractive" woman who he met only once -- at the party. So their meeting during Saturday special meeting at the office was the second one. As usually in such cases, he does not suspect that the woman he had chosen for his amorous adventures is a female sociopath and that it's him who was hunted. As Dan Callagher soon discovers is that Alex will not let him go. Now she decided that she owns him and she will stop at nothing to have him for herself. that's were the title "Fatal attraction" comes from. Actually a good title a one half of movie success :-)
The process of the hunt of a psychopath for a victim makes this movie really valuable educational material (although unlike borderliner female sociopath usually does not hurt herself, such as cutting wrists; but boderliners typically are less calculating and cruel then the character shown in the movie).
This most educational is the first scene -- the scene in cafe. Please watch several time the one-on-one dinner scene early on in the movie where Dan tells Alex that his wife is out of town -- Close is brilliant is her acting as a calculating, but not that attractive middle aged female sociopath (Note her approaching seduction move "You said to be very discreet, are you?" )
Here is how NYT reviewer see this scene (NYTimes.com)
So what does he do? He doesn't bother to resist, that's all. Audiences saw the seduction coming will also see its byproduct, a streak of persistence and vindictiveness from the woman who considers herself wronged. As in ''Play Misty for Me,'' still a classic of this genre, this spurned lover's pique becomes ever more terrifying as the film progresses. Most of her tricks are unsurprising, but they are unnerving anyway, so effectively does Mr. Lyne create the happy Gallagher family that Alex means to destroy.
... It also offers a well-detailed, credibly drawn romantic triangle that's sure to spark a lot of cocktail-party chatter. The fact that Dan Gallagher's home life seems so happy only makes matters more interesting, as does the film's refusal to explain him. It's even difficult to tell anything about this man's inner life from Mr. Douglas's performance, and that may be the point. He doesn't understand it either.
You will see that in such cases, without long history of interactions with such an individual you probably have very little chances noticing, that something is wrong with such an individual. And even if you noticed something like discrepancies in one of the stories, etc, you would not be able to appreciate the potential significance of this finding. While behaviour of psychopathic personality doe not occur out of the blue, the problem is that without prolonged interactions, we are not sure what they mean. Moreover they are obscured by a charming psychically and socially attractive female appearance. They are real "queens of the initial impression". They also think that they are smarter then everybody and sometimes they really are.
Psychopaths are very effective at masking their true selves from those whom they which to manipulate and con. Instead they present face personality designed to fit individual expectations. Paradoxically you ability to identify such a person increases if you are not seen as valuable to the psychopaths. they invest a lot of energy in identifying and manipulating their victims, but they do not spend much energy on trying to uphold a mask for those with little utility to them. so theoretically if Dan talked with some of Alex colleagues about her he might got some warnings, especially about bouts of rage. At the same time not everybody displaying several triats from the Hare's psychopathy checklist are real psychopaths. Being aware of one's tendency to attribute psychopahy to those displaying only some of it features (including yourself ;-) is important in improving your skills in spotting the real predators of human jungles.
Several other pretty educational scenes are related to the notion that sociopaths generally do not take "No" for an answer. If they want something they are really ready for quite a lot to get it. that means that saying them No to them is difficult. In Fatal Attraction there are several pretty notable scenes covering this ground:
The step-by-step scheme of using a one time amorous encounter to stalk the victim is so educational that probably should be included in any book describing female sociopaths. Here is "hunting" instincts of sociopath and her ability to adapt and present herself as an attractive pray (while, in reality, she is the soilless, devoid of any emotions, calculating hunter, who can kill in cold blood) are demonstrated incredibly well. Almost on the level of Dangerous Liaisons (were Glenn Close also is playing the main character)
The last part of the movie looks like a second rate horror movie and does not have too much educational value, only entertainment value. I would appreciate a scene in which the tune "You can't always get what you want" was played at Alex funeral.
Adapted from Fatal Attraction - Wikipedia
Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) is a successful, happily married New York attorney living in Manhattan when he meets Alexandra "Alex" Forrest (Glenn Close), an editor for a publishing company, through business. While his wife, Beth (Anne Archer), and daughter, Ellen (Ellen Hamilton Latzen), are out of town for the weekend, he has an affair with Alex. Though it was understood by both as a fling initially, she starts clinging on to him.
Dan stays on a second unplanned evening with Alex in which she persistently asked him over. When Dan tries to leave, she cuts her wrists in a suicide attempt. He helps her to bandage them and later leaves. He thinks the affair is forgotten, but she shows up at various places to see him. She waits at his office one day to apologize and invites him to a performance of Madame Butterfly, but he politely turns her down. She then continues to telephone until he tells his secretary that he will no longer take her calls. She then phones his home at all hours, and then confronts him claiming that she is pregnant and plans to keep the baby. Although he wants nothing to do with her, she argues that he must take responsibility. She shows up at his apartment (which is for sale) and meets Beth, feigning interest as a buyer. Later that night, he goes to her apartment to confront her, which results in a violent scuffle. In response, she replies that she will not be ignored.
Dan moves his family to Bedford, but this does not deter Alex. She has a tape recording delivered to him filled with verbal abuse. She stalks him in a parking garage, pours acid on his car, and follows him home one night to spy on him, Beth, and Ellen from the bushes in their yard; the sight of their content family literally makes her sick to her stomach. Her obsession escalates further. Dan approaches the police to apply for a restraining order against her (claiming that it is "for a client"), to which the lieutenant claims that he cannot violate her rights without probable cause, and that the "client" has to own up to his adultery.
At one point, while the Gallaghers are not home, Alex kills Ellen's pet rabbit, and puts it on their stove to boil. After this, Dan tells Beth of the affair and Alex's supposed pregnancy. Enraged, she demands him to leave. Before he goes, Dan calls Alex to tell her that Beth knows about the affair. Beth gets on the phone and warns Alex that if she persists, she (Beth) will kill her. Without Dan and Beth's knowledge, Alex picks up Ellen at school and takes her to an amusement park, buying her ice cream and taking her on a roller coaster. Beth panics when she realizes that she does not know where Ellen is. She drives around frantically searching and rear-ends a car stopped at an intersection. She is injured and hospitalized. Alex later takes Ellen home, asking her for a kiss on the cheek. Following Beth's release from the hospital, she forgives Dan and they return home.
Dan barges into Alex's apartment and attacks her, choking her and coming close to strangling her. He stops himself, but as he does, she lunges at him with a kitchen knife. He overpowers her, but puts the knife down and leaves, with Alex leaning against the kitchen counter, smiling. He approaches the police about having her arrested, and they start searching for her.
Beth prepares a bath for herself and Alex suddenly appears, again with the kitchen knife. She starts to explain her resentment of Beth, nervously fidgeting (which causes her to cut her own leg) and then attacks her. Dan hears the screaming, runs in, wrestles Alex into the bathtub, and seemingly drowns her. She suddenly emerges from the water, swinging the knife. Beth, who went searching for Dan's gun, shoots her in the chest, killing her. The final scene shows police cars outside the Gallaghers' house. As Dan finishes talking with the police, he walks inside, where Beth is waiting for him. They embrace and proceed to the living room as the camera focuses on a picture of them and Ellen.
Alex Forrest was originally scripted to commit suicide at the film's end by slashing her throat with the knife Dan had left on the counter, so as to make it appear that Dan had murdered her. After seeing her husband being taken away by police, Beth finds a revealing cassette tape that Alex sent Dan in which she threatened to commit suicide. Upon realizing Alex's intentions, Beth takes the tape to the police, which acquits Dan of the murder. The last scene shows, in flashback, Alex committing suicide by slashing her throat while listening to Madame Butterfly.
This resulted in a three-week reshoot for the action-filled sequence in the bathroom and Alex's death by gunshot. Her shooting by Beth juxtaposes the two characters, with Alex becoming the victim and Beth taking violent action to protect her family.
In the 2002 Special Edition DVD, Close comments that she had doubts re-shooting the film's ending, because she believed the character would "self-destruct and commit suicide". However, Close gave in on her concerns, and filmed the new sequence after having fought against the change for two weeks. The film was initially released in Japan with the original ending. The original ending also appeared on a special edition VHS and LaserDisc release by Paramount in 1992, and was included on the film's DVD release a decade later.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093010/quotes (rearranged and abridged):
Alex Forrest: You must have to be discreet.
Dan Gallagher: Oh, god yeah.
Alex Forrest: Are you?
Dan Gallagher: Am I what?
Alex Forrest: Discreet?
Dan Gallagher: Yes, I'm discreet.
Alex Forrest: Me, too.===
Alex Forrest: I had a wonderful time last night. I'd like to see you again. Is that so terrible?
Dan Gallagher: No. I just don't think it's possible.===
Alex Forrest: [to Dan] I guess you thought you'd get away with it. Well, you can't.
Dan Gallagher: Why are you trying to hurt me?
Alex Forrest: I'm not trying to hurt you Dan, I love you!
Dan Gallagher: You what?
Alex Forrest: I love you!
Dan Gallagher: You don't even know me
Alex Forrest: How can you say that?===
Dan Gallagher: Look, Alex... I like you. And maybe if I wasn't with somebody else, I'd be with you. But I am.
Alex Forrest: Please don't justify yourself, it's pathetic. You'd tell me to fuck off, I'd have more respect for you.
Dan Gallagher: All right, then fuck off.===
Telephone Operator: Operator. May I help you?
Alex Forrest: Operator, I've been trying to get 555-8129. 212? The recording says its been disconnected.
Telephone Operator: Just a moment please.
Telephone Operator: I'm sorry, the number's been changed to an unlisted number.
Alex Forrest: Operator, this is a real emergency please. You need to give me that number.
Telephone Operator: I'm sorry. We're not allowed to give out that information.
Alex Forrest: Well *fuck you*!
Telephone Operator: My place or yours?
[Alex slams phone]
Dan Gallagher: You're so sad. You know that, Alex? Lonely and very sad.
Alex Forrest: Don't you ever pity me, you smug bastard.
Dan Gallagher: I'll pity you... I'll pity you. I'll pity you because you're sick.
Alex Forrest: Why? Because I won't allow you treat me like some slut you can just bang a couple of times and throw in the garbage?
Alex Forrest: [to Dan] Well, what am I supposed to do? You won't answer my calls, you change your number. I mean, I'm not gonna be ignored, Dan!===
Alex Forrest: [on the phone to Dan] Bring the dog, I love animals... I'm a great cook.===
Alex Forrest: [to Dan] We were attracted to each other at the party, that was obvious! You're on your own for the night, that's also obvious... we're two adults.===
Beth Gallagher: [on the phone to Alex] If you ever come near my family again, I'll kill you. Do you understand?===
Dan Gallagher: [to Alex] This has got to stop.===
Dan Gallagher: [to Jimmy] She keeps calling the apartment. Every time Beth answers the phone, she hangs up. I'm scared Jimmy, and I don't want to lose my family.===
Alex Forrest: You're here with a strange girl being a naughty boy.
Dan Gallagher: I don't think having dinner with anybody's a crime.===
Alex Forrest: [to Dan] You play fair with me, I'll play fair with you.===
Alex Forrest: [to Beth] And don't you think I understand what you're doing? You're trying to move him into the country... and you're keeping him away from me. And you're playing happy family. Aren't you?
[begins to slice her own leg with a butcher knife]
Alex Forrest: You wouldn't understand that because you're so... so selfish. He told me about you. He told me about you. He was very honest. If you weren't so stupid, you'd know that. But you're so stupid. You're so stupid... you're a stupid, selfish bitch!===
Alex Forrest: Have you ever done it in an elevator?
Dan Gallagher: Not recently, no.
Alex Forrest: I bet you haven't.
Alex Forrest: [to Dan] This is not gonna stop. It keeps going on and on.===
Beth Gallagher: Alicia, where's Ellen?
Ellen's Friend: She's gone.
Alex Forrest: [from her tape, which Dan is listening to] Hello, Dan. Are you surprised? This is what you force me to do. I guess you thought you'd get away with it. Well... you can't. 'Cause part of you is growing inside of me, and that's a fact, Dan. You'd better start... Learning how to deal with it. Just so you know... I feel you. I taste you. I think you. I touch you. Can you understand? Can you? I'm just... asking you... to acknowledge your responsibilities. I... Is that so bad? I-I don't think so. I don't think it's unreasonable. And... you know, another thing... And it's that you thought you could just walk into my life, and turn it upside down, without a thought for anyone but yourself. You know what you are, Dan? You are a cocksucking son of a bitch. I hate you. I bet you don't even like real girls, do you? Ha! You disappoint me, you fucking faggot!
Beth Gallagher: [to Dan] You better get going kiddo, we're gonna be late.
Glenn Close suffered a concussion from one of the takes when her head smashed against a mirror during a re-shoot of the final of Fatal Attraction. After being rushed to the hospital, she discovered that she was actually a few weeks pregnant with her daughter; actress Annie Starke. Returned to work 2 months after giving birth to her daughter Annie Starke in order to begin filming Dangerous Liaisons (1988) were she played much more dangerous female sociopath.
Glenn Close sister Jessie has bipolar disorder.
Her performance as Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction (1987) was ranked #7 on the American Film Institute's villains list of the 100 years of The Greatest Screen Heroes and Villains. It is also ranked #36 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time. Is an "EGOT" Nominee, which means that she has been nominated for an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award. She has won 3 Tony's from 4 nominations, as well as 3 Emmys from 14 nominations. She is a 6 time Oscar nominee, as well as a 3 time Grammy nominee, but has yet to win either award.
On July 2, 2015, Fox announced that a TV series based on the film is being developed by Mad Men writers Maria Jacquemetton and Andre Jacquemetton.
Concerted efforts at influence and control lie at the core of cultic groups, programs, and relationships. Many members, former members, and supporters of cults are not fully aware of the extent to which members may have been manipulated, exploited, even abused. The following list of social-structural, social-psychological, and interpersonal behavioral patterns commonly found in cultic environments may be helpful in assessing a particular group or relationship.
Compare these patterns to the situation you were in (or in which you, a family member, or friend is currently involved). This list may help you determine if there is cause for concern. Bear in mind that this list is not meant to be a "cult scale" or a definitive checklist to determine if a specific group is a cult. This is not so much a diagnostic instrument as it is an analytical tool.
- The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.
- Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
- Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).
- The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry-or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).
- The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar-or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).
- The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.
- The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).
- The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members' participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).
- The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt iin order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.
- Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.
- The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
- The group is preoccupied with making money.
- Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.
- Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.
- The most loyal members (the "true believers") feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.
This checklist will be published in the new book, Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships by Janja Lalich and Madeleine Tobias (Berkeley: Bay Tree Publishing, 2006). It was adapted from a checklist originally developed by Michael Langone.
amazon.comDan E. Nicholas, February 4, 2016And some are not even bad people. She says it's when folks who lack ...Wild'n'Free
I'm reading and loving this book. I'll expand my review when I'm completely done in a couple days but just have to say: get it. Read it. Learn about yourself; if you dare. (I gave it four stars rather than five to protect myself!)
I was shocked how well she documents that it is we the conned that want the con to be real. The Grifter doesn't even have to always be that skilled. I went back and saw ways I got conned in matters of the heart while dating; in buying things; in following certain leaders in church.
Stunned to learned that 1% of the population is psychopathological in the way their brains are wired, some folks just can't feel or give meaning to your pain or the pain of others. And some are not even bad people. She says it's when folks who lack this "proper" wiring aim to use it for financial gain or to win and break hearts? Awful.
I fell in love with a Man Eater once. Looking back I see how it was my fault in setting up my own fall. I want things to look like they would work. The bad rests on me now. She's still a Man Eater. But the wounds I earned with my stupidity. I went on to find success with love but I've some scars for sure due to female cons running scams unwittingly online with dating sights.
She shows we can be wise without being cynical. I like that.Disappointing but with some qualities,
November 28, 2015
Konnikova promises a lot in the titles to her books. I read Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes and was disappointed. I did not learn to think like Sherlock Holmes; not by a long shot. In this book, Konnikova has come closer to delivering the "Why We Fall for It . . . Every Time" but I disagree with her observations and conclusions.
As a former prosecutor of elder abuse crimes (both physical and financial), I have a lot of experience with people who "fall for it." But that certainly doesn't mean everyone does. Nor does it mean that the ones who don't "fall for it" are more cynical, less humane, less open to true friendship, etc. In fact, Konnikova's description of victims of con artists as being more open and in touch with their humanity sounds like the manipulation of a con artist.
Not that I think Konnikova is a con artist. She is just a very ambitious young woman and a self-promoter. I have read a lot of her magazine articles and have enjoyed many of them. Unfortunately, her organizational and analytical skills as a writer do not make her a good writer of books. Viewed as a series of magazine articles with the inevitable repetitions this book holds up fairly well.
But as a book, it lacks a great deal. It certainly deserves 3 stars, but its failure to respond to bigger questions with bigger answers makes it fall short. For me, it was an uneven, often repetitious, fairly shallow approach to a fascinating subject. Until she matures as a thinker and researcher, Konnikova does better when she sticks to the magazine articles that she handles so well.
"In fact, Konnikova's description of victims of con artists as being more open and in touch with their humanity sounds like the manipulation of a con artist."
Excellent observation and excellent review.
As a scientist, used to sorting through ambiguous evidence and well-meaning but underdetermined interpretations, I find this book excellent. The author no doubt has to cast speculations of her own, and overplay some connections and implications, but the connections between gullibility, optimism, cults, and scams strike me as well articulated. The field of psychology is messy, but this book was very interesting and enlightening, clear as is possible (aside from chapters organized like magazine articles), and the connection between empathetic people and people who get scammed seems completely reasonable, albeit with a less than perfect correlation.
Joe Madison says:
I have the same question as Ellis Reppo: If this book is only average, can you recommend a good one? I have not read The Confidence Game, but I have a psych degree and a longstanding interest in persuasion. I often find popular psych books to be like you describe The Confidence Game (repetitive, without great breadth of understanding), and so your own book recommendations would be of real value. Thanks!
pat black says:
There's one called Eyeing the Flash: The Making of a Carnival Con Artist. A case study, if you will, of a 17-year-old middle class math whiz who became a midway con man in 1960s midwest
I'd stick to making an unbiased appraisal of the merits of the book if I were you, and cut out the ad hominem nonsense. As a reviewer you are privileged to make an opinion on the book's attributes, how it answers the questions raised by the author, etc.
But you are not at all privileged to launch unsolicited attacks on the personal attributes of the author. (Your line "until she matures as a thinker and researcher....." was completely uncalled-for, and hints more at your feelings of insecurity and inadequacy than anything else.)
Kirk McElhearn says:
Read David Maurer's The Big Con. It explains how the cons work, rather than focusing on lots of psychological studies that Konnikova looks at, trying to suss out why we respond the way we do.
Nathan Webster TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE on November 27, 2015Loyd Eskildson HALL OF FAMEon January 12, 2016
Entertaining and interesting look at conmen and the rubes who buy what they sell
This is a fun book that covers a lot of ground about 'cons,' from the personalities of those who can commit them, to the marks and rubes who get taken advantage of.
You would think in our informed culture, we couldn't be fooled, but we know that's not the case. Author Maria Konnikova does a good job presenting all sides of these stories and it's often entertaining reading about the pure brazeness of it all. I had not heard of many of the conmen (and women) that she describes and I always like reading new stories.
I do wish there had been more recent accounts - there are so many cheaters like Lance Armstrong that aren't exactly doing it for profit, and more attention to them would have been interesting. Three-card monte gets some attention - but that's not that interesting to me...I know why they succeed, because people want to see if THEY can beat the game - it's not a con as much as a battle of wits, which the rube always loses (I was cheated on a rigged carny game years ago - they suck you in with a few easy wins, then it gets progressively harder to win the stuffed animal).
I think the book is not disorganized, but it does cover a lot of ground, and the different names and situations can be difficult to follow at times. Interesting and entertaining, yes, but just be ready to pay attention.
Ultimately, it's an interesting sociological study - as long as there's an advantage to fooling somebody, people will try to fool other people. I would not use this book as the primary source - I think a reader should have interest in this specific topic first, and not use this book to try to get interested. It's a little too specific to get a reader invested who comes to the topic totally new.Rogues Regularly Triumph Over The Meek
Author Maria Konnikova has a Ph.D. in Psychology from Columbia, along with considerable experience researching topics in and writing about psychology. This, her second book, is about conmen - elegant, outsized personalities, artists of persuasion and exploiters of trust, not just your dime a dozen cheats and swindlers. Their 'bible' is Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People."
A confidence game starts with basic human psychology. The con identifies what the victim wants and how to play on that desire to achieve what the con-artist wants. Size someone up well, and you can sell them anything; it helps to have someone in the throes of some sort of life turmoil - the conman preys on what people wish were true, reaffirming their views of themselves and giving their lives meaning. Doing so requires the creation of empathy and rapport - laying an emotional foundation before any scheme is proposed.
The con is an exercise in soft skills - trust, sympathy, persuasion. He doesn't steal - we give. We believe because we want to, and we offer whatever they want - money, reputation, trust, fame, support, and don't realize what is happening until it is too late. No one is immune to the art of the con - it is not who you are, but where you happen to be at the moment in your life (eg. undergoing misfortune).
By the time things begin to look dicey, the victims tend to be so invested, emotionally and often physically, that they do most of the persuasion themselves. The con-artist may not even need to convince his victims to stay quite - they usually are more likely than not to do so themselves. When we hear others talking about their unbelievable deal or good fortune, we realize at once they've been taken for a sucker, but when it happens to us, it's simply because "I'm lucky and deserving of a good turn."
The best of cons are never discovered - we simply write our loss off as a matter of bad luck.
Psychopaths make up an estimated 1% of male population; among women, they are almost nonexistent. Grifters also are highly likely to be narcissist and Machiavellian. Narcissism entails a sense of grandiosity, entitlement, an overly inflated sense of worth, and manipulativeness. Machiavellian has come to mean a specific set of traits that allows one to manipulate others - employs aggressive, manipulative, exploiting, and devious moves. They are also more likely to attempt to bluff, cheat, bargain, and ingratiate themselves with others, and more successful at doing so.
Leadership and high-profile roles, salesmen/marketers, and the legal profession are all more likely to be populated by confidence men.
Researcher James Fallon believes that certain critical periods in childhood can nudge one more or less towards full-blown psychopathy - luck out, you become a high-functioning psychopath, get the bad draw and you become a violent psychopath. Fallon believes the first three years of life are crucial in determining one's psychopathic future.
The con is the oldest game there is, and it's likely to be entering a new age - thanks to new opportunities brought by increasing technology that make it far easier to establish convincing false identities (eg. LinkedIn), as well as identify those who might be more likely conned (dating sites that identify widows and divorcees). Since 2008, consumer fraud in the U.S. has risen more than 60%, with online scams more than doubling. In 2012 alone, the Internet Crime Complaint Center reported almost 300,000 complaints of online fraud, with over $500 million lost. Between 2011 and 2012, the Federal Trade Commission found that a little over 10% of American adults (25.6 million) had fallen victim to fraud. The majority of the cases involved fake weight-loss products, second place went to false prize promotions, and in third place was buyers' clubs in which what seemed like a free deal actually involves membership charges you didn't even know you'd signed up for. Fourth was unauthorized Internet billing, and finally work-at-home programs.
Con artists aren't just master manipulators - they are expert storytellers (eg. 'I'm supporting my mother, who now has AIDS,' 'I had PTSD from Iraq,' etc. Once we've accepted a story as true we will probably unconsciously bend any contradictory information to conform to the conclusion we've already drawn - it's known as 'confirmation bias.' Ultimately, what a confidence artist sells is hope. Many cases go unreported - most cases, by some estimates. AARP found that only 37% of victims over 55 will admit to having fallen for a con, and just over half those under 55 do so. Most con artists don't ever come to trial because they aren't brought to the authorities to begin with.
Most people require three things to align before going from legitimacy to con-artistry - motivation (underlying predisposition created by psychopathy), narcissism, and Machiavellianism - along with opportunity and a plausible rationale. In corporate fraud, for example, few choose to con in a vacuum - they also perceive an aggressive sales environment (opportunity) and a feeling they must do something to stand out. For a significant percentage of the conning population, surroundings matter. About half those who commit fraud cite intolerable competitive conditions as justification. They can rationalize away just about any behavior as necessary.
In one study of 15,000, only 50 could consistently detect liars - they relied on detecting incredibly fast facial movements as their clues. One of those 50 is now employed in law enforcement, and she told the author that smart psychopaths are super liars and have no conscience, and are very hard for her to identify.
The first commandment of the con man - 'Be a patient listener.' (Victor Lustig, con artist) Emotion is the primary hook used, much more powerful than logic. Cons tend to thrive in the wake of economic or natural disaster illness, personal travail. Sadness makes us more prone to risk taking and impulsivity - perfect for certain types of cons. Con artists love funerals and obituaries, divorces, layoffs, and general loneliness. He does everything in his power to bring our self-perceived better-than-averageness perceptions to the fore - eg. 'How intelligent you are, Professor Frampton.' And we believe it, because we want it to be.
Consistency plays a crucial role in our ongoing evaluations of a person we're helping - 'If I've helped you before, you must be worth it.'
Overall - some good points about con-men - but far too reliant on anecdotes.
Kevin L. Nenstiel TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE. November 2, 2015
Know How Crooks Think, So They Can't Outthink YouOur world positively teems with swindlers, ripoff artists, and con-men. From ordinary curbside Three-Card Monte to charming, narcissistic domestic abusers, to Ponzi schemers and Wall Street market riggers, the confidence game exudes from society's very pores. Psychologist turned journalist Maria Konnikova wants to unpack what makes us susceptible to con artists, a journey that leads through all human psychology, sometimes vulnerable to diversions and cow paths.
Konnikova's first book, Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, dealt with how crime fighters organize thoughts, observe reality, and undermine criminal mentality. This book essentially addresses the same issues from the opposite angle: how criminals create situations that need busting. Konnikova's conclusions may seem surprising, until we consider them further. Vulnerability to confidence artists and other professional chiselers actually means our psyches are healthy.
Confidence artists work with an encyclopedic understanding of human psychology with which research scientists are only now catching up. They recognize common traits, like our tendency to see others as similar to ourselves, our illusion of control, and our unwillingness to think badly about ourselves. These traits aren't weaknesses; without them, we'd be functionally paralyzed. Effective swindlers work by turning our best characteristics and human capabilities against us.
We must recognize, therefore, that making ourselves insusceptible to cons isn't actually desirable. Fraudsters prey on traits that open us to community, family, and fiscal reward. As Konnikova writes: "The same thing that can underlie success can also make you all the more vulnerable to the grifter's wares. We are predisposed to trust." With swindles, as with propaganda, those who think themselves most immune are, actually, most vulnerable.
The answer lies in understanding ourselves and the swindlers better. They don't see us like we see ourselves. They don't want to. We must cultivate complex understanding of different human thought patterns, and a stronger sense of ourselves. Konnikova again: "It's not that the confidence artist is inherently psychopathic, caring nothing about the fates of others. It's that, to him, we aren't worthy of consideration as human beings; we are targets, not unique people."
All isn't bleak. Throughout most of this book, Konnikova suggests it's difficult to prevent con-games without isolating ourselves and descending into cynicism. In the later chapters, though, she reverses the trend, showing how skilled, self-aware people can resist flim-flam artists' techniques. Not hypothetically, either: she shows how real people, cult busters and cultural anthropologists and police, have maintained their sanity when confronted by seemingly insurmountable double-dealing. Resistance is possible.
As Konnikova explains confidence artists' psychological techniques, her focus expands to include much about recent discoveries in psychology and behavioral economics. She wants readers to emerge with as thorough an understanding of human minds as the fraud merchants enjoy. This sometimes makes her technique sprawling (this book runs over 300 pages plus back matter, unusually long for its genre.)
Reading Konnikova sometimes requires especial concentration and focus.
She richly rewards those who stick with her narrative, though. I've recently seen one friend lose rafts to shady investments and two others get burned by charming, narcissistic romantic partners. Even if we never vote for crooks, invest with Bernie Madoff, or buy salvation sellers' wares, the potential for confidence games still surrounds us. Konnikova provides needed tools for self-awareness, clear boundaries, and bold self-defense. Swindles are inevitable; victimhood isn't.
Amazon.comSome Good Points, but Significantly Misguided,
June 19, 2012FlonneCVXVerified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: NOT "Just Friends": Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity (Kindle Edition)Not "Just Friends" seemed like an interesting read to me, as I am fascinated by anything psychology-related, especially when it comes to relationships. As someone who has endured abuse in several intimate relationships (mostly verbal, but some physical), I am grateful that I have never been sexually cheated on, as far as I know, despite having had many wounds and raw spots in my psyche as a result of those relationships. I have always wondered why people cheat, and have never thought of the idea myself, despite the misery, low-self-esteem, and exhausting amounts of work I have experienced from previous abusive relationships. Before the actual review starts, I probably should note a disclaimer here: I am a young, never-married college student with no plans for children and am heading toward a successful career. For as long as my lifetime will allow, I would love to also have a monogamous partner for companionship, love, and sexual intimacy.
First, I will start out with the positive points of the book. I should point out that the authors use a wonderful set of vocabulary words (e.g. "acumen") that one does not see often in many self-help books, further enriching the reading experience. The Kindle edition is especially nice, because it is easy to highlight and look up said words for future use.
Second, the writers did offer some interesting insight as to why people cheat. Various statistics are presented that challenge the common myths surrounding infidelity. The most fascinating and validating concept to me is the following: the cheating partner is usually not straying because his or her needs are not met; the said partner is actually not *giving* enough to the relationship. This debunks the myth that the betrayed partner is usually at fault for the affair because the partner is not attending to the cheating partner's needs. Of course, the authors do acknowledge that entitlement and character (though they do not actually use that word) are the bottom line as to whether someone will cheat or not. Like myself, some people are naturally monogamous according to genetics (not mentioned in the book), and/or they have unconscious "blinders" that keep them away from temptation, because they are either incredibly happy with their partner, morally opposed to cheating, take precautions, set boundaries, etc. In other words, biological, psychological, social, and emotional factors all play into whether or not someone will cheat, especially inner attitudes about what is acceptable behavior for him or herself.
Third, the book offered various stories and explanations of how many affairs start from an innocuous friendship based on lively conversation, advancing to sexual tension and eventually an intensely emotional and sexual affair that entrenches the original relationship into a mire. Although I wish the anecdotes had more conclusions ("they stayed together" or "they divorced"). After reading this book, I realized that I was emotionally cheated on in one of my past relationships. He had longtime sexual/romantic feelings for her that she did not reciprocate, but he complained to her about my sexuality without discussing it with me first. When she said inappropriate and disparaging remarks about me through her "unbiased female perspective," he believed her word over mine, despite the fact that I have never talked to her or met her. He made it evident through his words and actions that he respected and valued her more than me as a person, and never defended me to her. After ending the relationship, my research, therapist and friends assured me that he was controlling and verbally/physically abusive, and I was not at fault.
Fourth, the book cites common-sense yet commonly ignored facts about what affairs really are. For instance, sexual activities outside of a relationship are always cheating. Even if it is just kissing. Sure, intercourse is way more devastating and less forgivable than a kiss, but it is absolutely imperative to acknowledge any extramarital sexual activity as cheating. Emotional cheating means one or more of the following: sharing more with the other person than with your spouse, betraying your spouse by sharing concerns with the affair partner rather than talking to the spouse yourself, badmouthing the spouse to the affair partner, and/or somehow placing yourself in a position that establishes more emotional intimacy with the affair partner than with your spouse.
However, the negative aspects of this book cannot be ignored. I regret to say that I was surprised at how this book tended to actually sympathize more with the cheater than the betrayed partner. Dr. Glass said that she advises the majority of couples stricken by an affair to try to reconcile. Although she claims she understands how devastating and hurtful betrayal is in a relationship, it seems that she downplays it to acknowledge the [self-inflicted] "hurt" and "pain" the cheater experiences. I do wonder if Dr. Glass has experienced a betrayal herself. Perhaps she never has, and is incredibly naive and ignorant, or she has cheated herself and wishes to idealize the end-product of cheating as fixable and relationship-strengthening. She does not stress how entitled and abusive cheating is to a relationship. I am of the camp that believes cheating is never acceptable in a relationship; if one is unhappy, it is best to voice concerns and work on the relationship with love, respect, and honesty. If issues are not resolved in a timely manner according to one's liking, it is possible to leave and then find someone else in our relatively liberal American society. If my hypothetical boyfriend/husband had a sexual affair AND needed to actually grieve over the loss of his affair partner (through "me time") while remaining ambivalent about me, I would promptly show him the door instead of staying and working on the relationship like Dr. Glass suggests.
In the heartbreaking case of Ralph and Rachel, I wished that Rachel had left Ralph, discounting the possibility that she would not get adequate child support. Ralph and Rachel seemed to be a happy couple who believed in monogamy. Ralph later had an affair with his younger coworker, Lara, after an intense friendship sparked into sexual tension and forbidden romance. Why did Ralph do this? Rachel was tired from taking care of three small children-- gasp! Ralph felt neglected and like they did not do enough for themselves. Rachel also had separate interests, such as the fact that she did not like the Sopranos like Lara did. The situation did not drive Ralph to cheat on Rachel. His attitudes of entitlement, compartmentalization, and disregard for both Rachel and Lara's feelings led him to make an entirely selfish decision that will forever scar the relationship between Ralph and Rachel. Had Ralph just been a better person and had manned up and had a respectful heart-to-heart with Rachel ("Darling, I want us to make more time for ourselves rather than discuss the kids all the time."), they could have worked out a compromise and made their relationship stronger by overcoming the difficulties of raising children together. Although Dr. Glass never outright says this, it seems like she places about half the blame on infidelity for the betrayed partner's "nagging" and whatnot, although she says there is no way to affair-proof a marriage. Rachel's so-called lack of attention did not cause or play in the part of any of Ralph's infidelity. Ralph cheated because he decided to cheat. Simple as that. If he did not feel entitled to do something unacceptable that he and Rachel had discussed before, he would not have cheated. If he did not silently believe that his "needs" came before that of Rachel and their children, and/or if he could truly love Rachel more than any other romantic option, he probably would have never cheated.
Another couple's story angered me. After a long period of healing time, the betrayed wife surprised her unfaithful husband one night by wearing a wig to bed resembling the (very different) hair of his affair partner, leading to giggling and lovemaking. She will never live up to his fantasy woman affair partner, so she tries to be "the cool wife" by joking about the affair and posing as the other woman for his fantasies. Stories like these are patronizing and demeaning, reeking of the double-standard that benefits the cheating partner.
Last, but absolutely the most disturbing part, is that this book often discounts personal autonomy, taking responsibility for one's actions, and personal power to do the right thing in the midst of trying times. Dr. Glass does mention briefly that individual issues can contribute to cheating. The truth is that a person's own unique set of beliefs, attitudes, morality, and reasoning is the be-all and end-all as to whether or not they will cheat. The same can be said for other destructive behavior, such as violence. Even if one feels the intense emotions of despair, destructive, unjust violence as a follow-up is never encouraged. The same can be said for relational aggression or betrayal of a friend's trust in a way that deeply wounds him or her. Then, why is it okay for someone to cheat then expect the partner to stay with him or her? Even worse, the book suggests that the betrayed partner to become a control freak; "mommying" the cheater and snooping during his or her "recovery" process post-cheating. The book recommends that the betrayed spouse require call check-ups, like "where are you? who are you with? what are you eating for dinner?" much akin to the worried parent with the newly driving teenager. The book advises that partners spend a lot of time together, doing lots of hobbies together and almost implying that a relationship is vulnerable to infidelity if, gasp, you have some different interests.
I strongly suggest that anyone subjected to betrayal read the excellent books by Lundy Bancroft. For cheatees, "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" (especially helpful if you have also read "Why Does He DO That?") helps you realize your self-worth and discover underlying attitudes that allowed your partner to treat you terribly, without shaming you for leaving if that is what you decide to do. Although the books are more directed toward women, many of the concepts can be used by men dealing with abuse and infidelity from women, as the bottom line is entitlement, selfishness, and lack of empathy, not gender.
A CustomerThis Ain't Fiction By on March 31, 2004
I always thought this film was totally unrealistic, just WAY too over the top in its presentation of the Alex Forrest character. Her initial little quirks, her escalating manipulation, her ultimate eruption into wholesale psychosis -- I always thought, "Oh pshaw, this is a cartoon! This is a movie-writer's concoction!"
And then: It happened to me (though not exactly the same circumstances... we both were single). I met a genuine borderline personality disorder, and that person behaved EXACTLY like Alex Forrest (though stopping short of rabbit boiling and knife violence). I watched the film again later, and was astounded at how well the details of borderline personality disorder were captured, the self-delusion, the emotional coercion, the complete disintegration of logic and final loss of control.
This is a great movie. And believe me, there really are people with all the tools (or lack thereof) necessary for becoming Alex Forrest in real life.
D. Mikels on November 30, 2003
Where's my wedding ring?
Let's face it: we're guys. Wandering eyes. A perceptive inclination to gander at a short skirt, a hint of cleavage, a heart-pounding hip wiggle. I ran smack dab into a door the last time I gawked, but consider myself darn lucky compared to Michael Douglas' character in FATAL ATTRACTION--a white-knuckled "don't-let-this-happen-to-you" thriller that vividly demonstrates what can happen to a guy when he lets other parts of his anatomy do his thinking for him.
Manhattan lawyer Dan Gallagher (Douglas) has it all: successful career, attractive wife, loving daughter. So why not have an extramarital fling with a woman he met at a party while the family is out of town? Sure. Just a one-night stand. No harm, no foul. But there's something very "foul" about Dan's partner in crime, because blonde Alex Forrest (Glenn Close) may have all the right moves in the sack, but she also has an elevator that doesn't go all the way to the top. So when Dan wants to shake hands and part company, Alex will have none of it, and the table is set for a one-way ticket to Looney Land.
Let the stalking. . .the suspense. . .the thrills and chills. . .begin. The bathroom scene, in which Dan's frazzled wife Beth (Anne Archer) wipes the steam off the mirror, is worth the price of purchase of this video alone.
Director Adrian Lyne (as usual) delivers a gripping, antacid-popping story. The only positive in FATAL ATTRACTION was the fact all this bad stuff happened to an attorney. Like, how sad. I'd like to write more, but I hear the wife calling--something about all the hair in the sink. Don't want to get her riled.
Missing Person on November 17, 2005
spellbinding performances and superior dialogue help make this irresistible despite its shortcomings
Although it may seem hard to believe for many of today's viewers, 1987's "Fatal Attraction" was considered to be quite a breakthrough upon its release. There was even a lot of trouble in getting it off the ground because it was considered too risque and uncommercial.
"Fatal Attraction" was built up from a short film by screenwriter James Dearden, and the plot is admittedly pretty basic and straightforward. Michael Douglas plays Dan Gallagher, a lawyer who's been married for 9 years to his wife Beth, played by Anne Archer. Dan crosses paths with the Glenn Close character Alex Forrest for the first time at a business meeting. Instantly attracted to her, he introduces himself to her, and when Beth goes on a weekend vacation... Well, you can see where this is ultimately heading.
Don't get the wrong idea though thinking that "Fatal Attraction" is an airheadedly assembled movie. The premise may be simple, and the movie does kinda fall apart near the end, but apart from this, the scripting is masterful, the performances from Douglas and Close are intense and spellbinding, and Adrian Lyne's phenomenal, no-holds-barred directing keeps the suspense level ultra-high and the atmosphere just right throughout. The movie also sucks you with in how realistic most of it feels -- just check out the one-on-one dinner scene early on in the movie where Dan tells Alex that his wife is out of town--Douglas and Close absolutely go to town with this brilliantly-realized, compulsively watchable scene.
Many viewers have complained that the movie doesn't zero in enough on why Dan would cheat on his wife in the first place. However, the movie does make it clear that Dan is somehow feeling unsatisfied in his marriage. There's a very sly scene early in the movie where Beth is seen in bed with their 6-year-old daughter Ellen, forcing Dan to sleep elsewhere. Presumably Ellen is scared or just can't sleep, and yet when Beth informs Dan it'll just be for that one night, you can detect a sense of disgust from Dan--clearly, Dan's feeling unsatisfied in his marriage.
The ending of the movie that was used for its theatrical release is highly debatable, and how you feel about it depends on the kind of person you are. If you're the kind who feels that a man cheating on his wife is inevitable and bound to happen once or twice, then the movie's official ending will probably be satisfying to you; the producers seemed to feel that this is how the majority of the public feels, hence their decision to end the movie this way and make it more "accessible". However, if you find cheating to be flat out inexcusable, you'll probably find it to be an incomplete, unresolved movie. I see where the producers were coming from, but I feel they could have done better.
Alex Forrest is a deeply disturbed individual who undoubtedly has been sexually abused before her encounter with Dan, but that certainly doesn't make her psychotic behavior acceptable. At the same time though, no one on the right mind is going to find Dan Gallagher to be a very likable man--he really is despicably selfish and deserves to suffer some for his actions. It's a shame that the movie doesn't dig deeper into the marital issues of Dan and Beth, and also that it doesn't reveal more about what goes through Dan's mind regarding his actions, including having apparently gotten Alex pregnant.
Ultimately, "Fatal Attraction" is flawed, but it sure is extremely entertaining and suspenseful, keeping you on the edge of your seat throughout, AND it sparked debate among its viewers about serious matters. All that said, "Fatal Attraction" deserves to be hailed as, at least, a near-classic.
The "Special Collector's Edition" DVD of "Fatal Attraction" is definitely THE version to have, containing tremendous bonus material that makes the whole experience even more worthwhile. For one thing, you get to see the original ending of the movie before it was changed for theatrical release. This original ending may not have the blood and guts of what was ultimately used for the movie, but it's extremely gripping and puts a whole new spin on things, and it's actually more effective and satisfying--it's a shame, on an artistic level, that it wasn't used for the movie. There's also a nicely done, highly informative featurette containing interview material from Douglas, Close, Archer, Lyne, and the producers Stanley R. Jaffe and Sherry Lansing.
This film did more for a return to monogamy than any sex-transmitted diseases! I've just re-watched this flick, and it's just as effective as when I first viewed it. Picture a younger Baby Jane Hudson combined with Jaws, and that's pretty much "Alex", Glenn Closes' woman scorned. Michael Douglas, as the typical, successful, arrogant, mid-'80's Yuppie, who, though perfectly nested in a seemingly great marriage to gorgeous, giving, Anne Archer, has to prove he's still a desirable stud by having a "casual" (WRONG!!) fling with Closes' "Alex", a sexy, also seemingly sophisticated associate of his.
She initially gives the impression she wants the same thing as he, a "no strings attached" sex-fest, but, after a 24 hour marathon, while wifey is out of town, it begins to become apparent that Alex is becoming just a teensy bit possessive, and when Douglas, as diplomatically as possible, tries to explain to her that he's happily married, and it's dumpster time, Miss Alex IS NOT buying it.
The ensuing harassment of he and his family, which starts with pranks from Alex to express her displeasure, turns into a horror-ride that will have your emotions tap dancing faster than Ann Miller!! Some people feel the need to rationalize the entirety of a film, "why'd she do that", that wouldn't happen", etc... not me. With a film like this, it either entertained me, or didn't. Well, this one certainly did.
I found all the acting excellent, and the situation not all that unbelievable. Though "over the top", it is a non-stop ride of suspense as Douglas' nightmare (and life) un-folds. I recall there were some copy-cat flicks made shortly after this came out, trying to duplicate what this film has. Well, they didn't succeed, and were soon forgotten. I feel that this film, with its great cast , production, intelligent script, and direction, will not be topped for films of it's kind, and will stand the test of time. It pushes ALL the buttons.
David Reynoldson, November 16, 2015
here's why ya don't haff ta listen ta them movie critics
Well folks, we've been watching some movies on netflix lately and we thought that if we found some good ones we'd let th folks that follow our reviews on Amazon know. I'm only gone try ta review th ones that are good; number one cause I don't like negativity and number 2 why would ya want ta hear about a movie thats bad. Even though we fersee most a these movies getting 5 stars we'll be tellin ya what we don't like about em and critizin em. Not that we think were movie critics or anything high soundin like that but because we figger we know as much about good movies as anybody else includin that fat boy that used ta be a 'film critic' on TV with that other weasley feller before I guess he struck out on his on Ignore that one me and momma did on left Behind; that wuz a specially bad case and deserved as many bad reviews as it can get.
First of all, let me say that Fatal Attraction is one a my favorite movies. It ain't a action movie but friends th action never stops. There ain't a lost minute in this here film. They wrote it right and directed it tight. Yer never settin around wonderin whats gone happen next, it happens. That said, th movie ain't rushed at all. Th actin is great. All th actors is likable. There's jest nothin worse than watchin a movie where th actors is always bein smart-a66es and puttin one another down.
Michael Douglas is at his best as a hot-shot lawyer. Even though he's likable you can jest tell he that he thinks he's hot s88t on a silver platter. You can see it when he sneers at that rabbit he bought his daughter. Now it wuz filmed in 1987 but it don't look dated or nothin, that is if ya can get past them mom slacks Anne Archer wears. There ain't nothin redeemin about them slacks. Did people really dress like that in th 80s.
Now Glenn Close is the only one you can really dislike and even then ya feel sorry for her at times. After ya get past that first scene. During that one ya want to ask yourself, does Michael Douglas really think she's hot. Friends, that's one clue that old mikey ain't really strung together right himself. Any man with a healthy sense a self-preservation would take one look at the man-jaw on that heifer, the schnozz she's hung with and th medusa hair and say 'hell no, I ain't getting my junk within ten feel a that!. There's some Daddy issues here!
And sure enough you'd be right Well that's all right I guess cause old michael gets red-pilled sure enough about half-way through th movie after Glenn Close calls im a 'effin f8888t. Now th kid, she's sweet and does a great job but who th hell decided that kid needed a haircut. Momma said they set that kid up for a lifetime a sexual confusion.
There is some anomalies in this movie. If you are careful ya can catch em. This thing is obviously set in the Fall. Why do ya see a Sanny Claws in the yard at Halloween. Now th movie is also full a dirty tricks like making the best part a th movie be when Michael Douglas kicks Glenn Close's a88, especially the part where when she opens the door he clocks her with it. And then the dirtiest trick a all, we find out she's crazy! Well, lordly ya could a fooled me. I though she was jest going through a rough patch.
Well friends, take my advice and watch this movie. Some folks has said this movie cured a lot a fooling around when it first come out. I hadn't seen any sign a folks stoppin their hoppin if ya know what I mean. Ya don't haff ta watch this movie ta know how good th advice is that I give my kids; Be where ya supposed ta be; doin what yer sposed ta be doin; with th one yer sposed ta be doin it with and you'll save yerself ninety percent a the problems that modern folks haff ta deal with.
A. Nathaniel Wallace, Jr. on August 4, 2015
Beware Of Dangerous Women!
What a thriller! I won't go into details on the plot. Others have done that already. But what I will do is go over the mistakes Michael Douglas's character Dan Gallagher makes his mistakes.
Mistake #1. This mistake was to have an affair with a woman who he works with. Affairs like this are simply too close for comfort. Alexandra Forrest knew too much about him and thus could use this knowledge against him as she did. Dan would have been better suited picking up a woman who knew nothing about him or gone the old fashioned oldest profession and used a call-girl. He had the money for that.
Mistake #2. He should have worn a condom. It was the 1980s and AIDS was/is not the only STD a man can get from a woman. He had too much education and experience to make a mistake like that. As a result of this he got Alex Forrest pregnant.
Mistake #3. Assuming he made Mistake #1 he should NEVER have gone back to Alexandra's apartment after the first fling. it may well have been too late at that point anyway, but nevertheless, Gallagher should have avoided Alex Forrest like the plague from that point on. By seeing her again he only exacerbated problems for himself.
Mistake #4. Perhaps the biggest mistake that Dan Gallagher made was breaking into Alexandra Forrest's apartment and attempting to kill her. She very well might have been able to get away with all of her previous perfidy had she killed him than and there. Too, she could have slain him and not been charged for that crime. Although who knows it the love triangle would have been unraveled by "New York's Finest." For every Andy Sipowicz in that city there are five or ten Barney Fifes!
Despite all of these mistakes by Michael Douglas's character I really liked the movie and highly recommend it. I'm the 321st person to review this fine Five Star film. Buy it on DVD and you won't be disappointed.
A. Nathaniel Wallace, Jr.
N. B. Elkson May 3, 2015
that one wonders how many lessons this poor guy,
I never ever get tired of this movie! As many times as I've watched it, and even knowing what's coming next... the knots in my stomach start building up! Right from the start, every scene is so intense, that one wonders how many lessons this poor guy, (yeah... I know... who had him), is going to have to learn before it finally blows up in his face! Glen Close is so terrifying and yet one almost feels sorry for her, (yeah... I know... who had her) too. Holding my breath right along side Michael Douglas, even applauding him when he rolls around in his bed, the morning after, giving the impression that he slept in it, (yeah... I know... shame on me), to at times glad that he was also getting knots in "his" stomach trying avoid getting caught by his wife. I recently found out that a friend of mine has never seen this movie, although she's always wanted to... and all I could keep telling her over and over again was, "watch it, you're absolutely going to love it"! Besides owning the DVD, I know own it on my Kindle!
A. Conradon February 5, 2015
A rumination on the risks of indiscretion, but with dalliances of its own
"Fatal Attraction" is a horror movie with a moral, a cautionary tale that confirms the blessings of family and fidelity. It is a smart movie that knows what it is doing-every conversation, every plot point is on theme. In a scene near the beginning, a legal team is discussing a book, a woman's fictionalization of her affair with a senator. The senator is threatening to sue for libel, but everyone in the room knows it's true. Next, a woman from the publishing firm (Glenn Close) and a married man from the law firm (Michael Douglas) extend their acquaintance over lunch. Their conversation, of course, quickly turns to indiscretions. This is effective set-dressing from screenwriter James Dearden, if you don't mind being peppered with an idea while it slowly comes to fruition. The movie takes its time to get to the junctures that we know must come, and which it so cleverly telegraphs. The titular attraction, with near fatality, play out in a steamy lost weekend that ends in a suicide attempt. The rest of the film is a tense period of escalation while we wait for the other shoe to drop. This stretch, too, is effective, as the film moves steadily out of the realm of family drama and into the horror genre. Maurice Jarre's score turns eerie and urgent as Douglas's character realizes that his actions have consequences, and that he has ransomed his perfect family to a woman bent on having him at any cost. But it remains rather obvious where things are headed, and if this isn't your first movie, it is possible to become impatient. A high point is the famous rabbit-boiling scene, as clinically executed as everything in the film. The rabbit was a pretty pet, kept only for a day or two, then slashed and drowned. The harrowing climax neatly mirrors this, but not before using a literal mirror in one of those stock horror moments where the killer suddenly appears in the glass. The trick is too old to work, as is the obligatory one-last-ending trope, the unkillable-killer trope. It's perfectly done, but it's too hackneyed. The script's original ending, which was filmed but rejected, is more original and fits just as neatly with all that has come before.
Like almost all horror films, the villain here is the most interesting figure. That's unfortunate, because the real power of the movie is its message about family. It is a ringing injunction against the kind of vain, powerful men who cheat, men who gamble all that they have for no other reason than that they can. Douglas's character is asked twice why he strayed, and the fact that he cannot give an answer is one of Dearden's smartest observations. Nobody could leave this movie wanting to have an affair... unless, of course, they miss the point by focusing on Close's character. And that is easy to do. When the movie it ended, I went over it in my mind searching for clues about her life and her behavior. Why did she lie about her father? Did her miscarriage, if that story was true, trigger her mental instability, or was it a preexisting condition? Can someone so afflicted hold down a stressful publishing job, or was that some kind of ruse? Was she, in fact, none other than the woman who wrote a book about an affair with a senator? Perhaps she used a nom de plume, and that is why she was so certain that the woman was telling the truth. The questions and theories are endless. This is a tribute to Close's acting, but it is also a distraction from the real meaning of the film: that it is wrong to cheat, not because you might cheat with an insane person, but because in cheating you yourself become the danger that jeopardizes the stability of your life and home. "Fatal Attraction" very effectively externalizes that danger, and Close makes the most of the opportunity to bring to life one of cinema's most indelible and tragic villains, but I cannot shake the feeling that Douglas's character gets off the hook a little too cleanly. All he loses, in the end, is a rabbit he never wanted.
Martin, November 27, 2014
In the park Michael Douglas pulls a practical joke on Glenn Close. He plays dead - pretending to have a heart attack. He laughs when Glenn Close comes running to him and falls to her knees at his side. He was just kidding. Glenn Close instantly counters his joke by telling him her father died of a heart attack right in front of her when she was a kid. Michael Douglas buys the story. He believes it.
Then she laughs and breaks it to him that her father is alive and well - living somewhere warm...
Great movie. Not far from the truth except perhaps from the dramatic knife-stabbing finale... Notice Glenn Close' envy. She's envious. Jealous at her Target's perfect family. Also notice that the more Michael Douglas rejects Glenn Close the more she stalks him. She can't handle being rejected. She becomes an obsessed, vindictive, completely out-of-control, raging nightmare. (By the way, I have never had any personal experience with a single-stalker. Only gang stalking. And gang stalking is a lot more subtle, insidious and scheming). Read some of the top-reviews. They are far better than mine.
Softpanorama hot topic of the month
Web of Deception (1994)
Starring Powers Boothe, Pam Dawber, Richard A. Colla, Nevin Schreiner Amazon Digital Services LLC iMDB rating 5.5
Author: dmford from Washington
9 August 2005
Great role for Mr. Boothe
First of all, I must mention that the back of the DVD box (the one I bought, at least), in giving a summary of the movie, gives an incorrect surname for Mr. Boothe's character and some inaccurate information about the crux of the plot!
As for the movie itself, this is a wonderful role for Powers Boothe since he's in nearly every scene and really gets to "strut his stuff". Prior to seeing this, I'd seen him in only a handful of films, such as "Southern Comfort", and always as part of an ensemble cast. In "Web of Deception" he gets to show us a whole range of emotions as a generally likable but sometimes annoying ladies' man whose life is slowly falling apart. His interactions, both happy and sad, with his on-screen daughters are especially touching. Even my boyfriend was moved to tears by one of those father-daughter scenes.
**SPOILER** Not having been trained in the mental health field, I find it hard to believe that a young, attractive, successful career woman could be so obsessed with someone that she would calmly snuff out her own candle, so to speak, but she does seem convincingly disturbed and unbalanced in her scenes with our good doctor.
If you like obsession movies like "Fatal Attraction", you'll probably like this, too. If you're a fan of Powers Boothe, you must not miss this one! (The only reason I didn't give it a "10" has nothing to do with the plot or the acting, just some of the editing, which seemed a bit haphazard in one or two places.)
Amazon Digital Services LLCD. H.Another dark triumph by David Fincher,
October 4, 2014
I have not read the Gillian Flynn novel Gone Girl. Not out of any particular aversion. I just never found my way around to it. So I entered this film adaptation by premiere stylist and suspense conjurer David Fincher quote-unquote blind beyond a general knowledge of the story involving a suburban Missouri man who becomes a suspect in his wife's mysterious vanishing. And beat by beat, scene by scene, twist by twist, the film blew me away. It is an airtight and atmospheric blend of the hilarious, the macabre, and the romantic. It satisfies first as a crime mystery. With a perverse, yet playful hand, it transforms the essential and inevitable questions of the genre (who is who? who is where? who has done what? who is alive? who is dead?) into delightful webs of opaque morality and disturbing brutality. There are other concerns and components, too, and this joins such films as Sweet Smell of Success and To Die For among the best indictments of media sensationalism and the way it can bastardize humanity. It achieves this via acidic and vivid (and therefore highly enjoyable) illustration of its points rather than didactic condemnation.
The film is buoyed by spot-on casting decisions. In a strange way which pays enormous dividends, many of the stars seem to be chosen based on their undesirable traits. Ben Affleck, a capable actor and a fine director, knows what is to be caught in the media's unforgiving line of fire and has earned poor reviews in the past for exuding a certain bordering-on-self-parody, macho-man overconfidence and self-satisfaction, so he is an ideal choice to play the husband, an individual who is either a decent man in over his head or a chiseled sociopath who can barely hide his smile in front of the cameras. And the beautiful Rosamund Pike can seem distant on screen, a type of icy English rose to be admired and never touched, and she is therefore ideal as a so-picture-perfect-as-to-be-unknowable wife pushed to unusual and dangerous places. Hers is a particularly alarming and inspired turn (the actress' best since the undervalued Barney's Version), and it would be a shame if she were not recognized by the Academy with her first nomination early next year.
This line of casting thought extends to other plays in the substantial ensemble. Why not, for example, hire Tyler Perry, who has turned himself in a household name with outsize charisma and a self-forged aura of spiritual authority, to play a showboating A-list lawyer? Throughout Gone Girl, the roles fit so very snugly. And behind the camera, Fincher is in as fine a form as ever. My favorite films of his are still Zodiac and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but this plants its flag close to the top. His antiseptic, meticulous, and perfectionist shot compositions turn the banal suburban environments into under-lit and malevolence-infused spaces, and every scene (whether overtly suspenseful and violent or of a quieter domestic variety) has an incisive and taut quality. This is a long film at 148 minutes, but never an overweight or ponderous one. It holds viewers' heads and hearts with vice-grip intensity from frame one onward and leaves us (or me, at least) at once amused, energized, and despairing.
Amazon.comDavid Thomson on May 21, 2002MICHAEL ACUNA, May 11, 2002
Unfaithful: Crime and Punishment in an American Suburb
This is the movie that everyone should view before deciding whether to engage in an adulterous affair. Connie Summer (Diane Lane) is a woman with far too much time on her hands. Her husband Edward (Richard Gere) easily earns enough money to support the family in an upper middle class lifestyle. Connie only has one boy and no serious avocations to focus upon.
She is an attractive and bored woman approaching middle age. In other words, Connie is a walking time bomb waiting to go off. Connie literally runs into the much younger Paul during a windy afternoon in Manhattan.
One thing leads to another, and eventually Connie ends up in Paul's bed. The odds are highly against this become a lasting relationship, but Connie enjoys the lustful encounters and isn't particularly interested in thinking about the distant future. The pleasure sectors of her brain now dominate the analytical. Practical questions can wait to be answered on another day.
Edward wasn't born yesterday and quickly realizes that something is amiss. We follow the unfolding events knowing full well something tragic is about to occur.
The dialogue is near perfect, and the acting superb. Diane Lane is brilliant and this may be the best work that Gere has done in a number of years.
Director Adrian Lyne's approach is thoroughly secular. These characters display no religious inclinations. Nonetheless, the awfulness of adultery comes across loud and clear. This is an act of betrayal that almost certainly will severely damage, if not completely destroy a marital relationship. Do you really wish to take that risk? After seeing Unfaithful, you will likely say it's not worth it. I can't quite give this film five stars, but four and a half seem appropriate.
It was the Best of times...it was the Worst of TimesAdrian Lyne is not known as the king of subtlety, as in his "Fatal Attraction" or "Flashdance." He showed remarkable restraint in "Lolita"; giving the film a beautiful and reverent patina of intelligence and honor especially in Jeremy Iron's portrayal of Humbert. Why the major distributors did not take on the mantle of "Lolita" will forever remain a mystery.
In Lyne's newest film, "Unfaithful," he finally comes into his own with a film that is not only provocative but also one that resonates with clear headed thought and remarkably subtle performances.
"Unfaithful" is the story of Connie and Richard Sumner (Diane Lane and Richard Gere), happily married for eleven years with one son living in White Plains, New york. One day, Connie is in NYC for business in the middle of a hurricane-like windstorm when she literally runs into Paul Martel (Olivier Martinez). After Connie scuffs her knees in a fall, Paul invites her into his apartment in Soho for some tea and thus begins a torrid, ultra-sexual love affair. Everything up to this point is Lyne-like with Lane and Martinez never looking more beautiful and sensual in their entire careers amid scenes of photographically perfect lovemaking.
But Lyne throws a wrench into his usual mix of infidelity amd marital indiscretion by adding a murder and thriller plot that adds dimension and breadth to the film. Is it any wonder that this cast was interested in doing this film? Especially Richard Gere who is extremely picky about the projects he undertakes.
Even though Diane Lane has been making movies since she was twelve, she does wonders with her character here. Her Connie is in love with her husband and her life but simply cannot resist the charms of her "amour fou" Paul. There are no big decisions to be made here, Connie is bowled over by Paul and does almost nothing to resist his charms...he is French,handsome and young after all.
The reprecussions of Connie's affair are played out with Hitchcockian suspense yet without Hitchcock's 50's sensibilities and Calvinist modes of retribution. The ending is left remarkably open to interpretation.
Even though Diane Lane has been making movies for 30 years, she has never had a better part than that of Connie and she makes the most of every one of her scenes. She is a revelation in her reticent yet all-consuming realtionship with Paul and with her intelligent and sympathetic dealings with her family. We truly care for her and her situation: she transforms what could have been a negative part into something positive and life-affirming. Both Gere and Martinez are also first rate and empathetic: we care for both even though they are far from perfect human beings.
Adrian Lyne has had a rocky career with several lows ("Lolita") and few highs ("Fatal Attraction"). "Unfaithful" shows us all what a fine, accomplished, subtle film maker he is and what a diligent and persuasive director of actors he can be.