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Overall Rating
2.91

Awesome: 11.11%
Worth A Look: 20.99%
Average: 23.46%
Pretty Bad37.04%
Total Crap: 7.41%

6 reviews, 45 user ratings


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Unfaithful
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Diane Lane scores in more ways than one."
4 stars

A couple of decades back, in Francis Coppola's ambitious dud 'The Cotton Club,' Richard Gere and Diane Lane engaged in forbidden passion but forgot the passion. Lane was only eighteen at the time, barely a step or two removed from the surly teen she'd played in 'Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains.' Now she and Gere are reunited in 'Unfaithful,' and this time Lane is all woman.

After many early years of closing herself off from the camera -- maybe she was too self-conscious to give more of herself -- Lane has become, in her late thirties, an open and vulnerable actress. She is more than enough reason to see Unfaithful, and this time the lack of sparks between her and Gere is part of the movie's core.

Connie (Lane) and Edward (Gere) are comfortably married, with an eight-year-old son (Erik Per Sullivan) and a nice house in the New York suburbs. There's really nothing wrong with their marriage; there's just not much excitement left in it, though Connie isn't bored, exactly -- perhaps just pining for the intensity and uncertainty of a new relationship. She gets it in spades when she runs into Paul (Olivier Martinez), a darkly handsome book dealer. Director Adrian Lyne and screenwriters Alvin Sargent and William Broyles Jr., reworking an old Claude Chabrol film, don't give us any obvious signs that Connie is doing anything terribly right or terribly wrong. Edward isn't a jerk, Paul isn't a sleazy sex hound, and Connie's life isn't awful enough to run away from. There is no logical reason for Connie to fall into bed with Paul (and then return obsessively for more), but since when has the libido obeyed logic?

Up to a point, Unfaithful is a distaff bookend piece to Adrian Lyne's 1987 sensation Fatal Attraction, in which Michael Douglas also had no compelling reason to cheat on Anne Archer with Glenn Close other than the simple fact that Glenn Close rang his bells loudly. Unfaithful isn't the manipulative hot-button potboiler that Fatal Attraction was; Lyne is interested in the dynamics of sexual obsession and its emotional fallout, as he was in 1993's Indecent Proposal and his Lolita remake. There's a wonderful line in Laurell K. Hamilton's novel A Kiss of Shadows in which a man remarks to the female narrator that she's looking at him as if he were something to eat. Connie looks at Paul as if he were a buffet table of glorious fattening dishes, after years of marital fruits and vegetables.

Something happens about an hour in -- like A Kiss Before Dying, this is a twist-in-the-middle film. Lyne and the actors go about it expertly, and then set about addressing the aftermath. The movie becomes a bit broody and poky, but Diane Lane keeps us plugged into the emotions of the piece even when she's not around as much. She has a personal-best moment on the train ride home from Connie's first sex with Paul; you can't tell whether Connie is laughing or crying -- maybe both at once, maybe alternately. You can see why she goes back for more: Paul might screw up her life, but she's never been this excitingly screwed up before. Lane also brings out the best in Olivier Martinez, whose scenes with her have an ardent tenderness shading into hot roughness, and even Richard Gere, who bestirs himself enough to give a living, breathing performance as a good, solicitous man as bewildered by his own emotional swings as Connie is by hers.

Lyne takes all of this seriously; he has always, I think, been a serious director, though sometimes a bit too smitten with his own stylistic perfume (he's another Brit in the Ridley Scott/Alan Parker mold). Unfaithful is a better film than the compromised Fatal Attraction (with its egregious bunny-boiling and bathtub-death ending) and leagues better than Lyne's foolish 9 1/2 Weeks. Lyne doesn't hype the eroticism here, he just lets it bubble out of Diane Lane's performance. He gives the film (even in its more lurid moments) a steady, contemplative pulse that earns respect. And he ends it all on an appropriately ambiguous note, a suggestion of escape fantasy that, like the other fantasies in the film, will likely end badly.

This is possibly the closest thing to a true adult drama you're going to see from this talented stylist; as such, it should be looked at as if it were something to eat.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5906&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/07/07 12:51:20
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User Comments

1/10/14 Michelle calling a child actor "gruesome" makes you lack credibility 1 stars
10/14/11 Paul I cant forget Diane being fucked in the bathroom 3 stars
1/02/10 Gsat No one can get away with adultery... 4 stars
4/11/08 Dogman Diane Lane is HOT HOT HOT...oohhhhh yeah!!! 4 stars
8/28/07 Albert Bayarcal the movie was good but the thruth was denied. 2 stars
6/13/07 al smith diane lane jesus is she so sexy what a body 3 stars
1/28/07 David Pollastrini sexy 3 stars
11/11/06 cody a strong first hour with sexy diane lane and soap opera second half. overall average 3 stars
10/15/06 burim kabashi no coment, very nice movie 1 stars
7/10/06 cyman1000 wonderful, fantastic. Lane is caught in a sexual frenzy, very intense-i understand that. 5 stars
5/07/06 chienne Diane Lane...far remove from Lorena Wood, Richard still wooden, but I like it. 4 stars
8/27/05 ES Is Gere ever in a movie that is not about adultry? M. Douglas and him have similar tastes 1 stars
4/12/05 Ronin not bad 3 stars
3/21/05 Sid Savillo/Novelist/Scriptwriter Stimulating ( to the brain) saga of an obsessive "love" without boundaries beyond marriage 5 stars
2/14/05 MEsw Not bad, not great and Diana Lane turns a fine performance 3 stars
2/01/05 Jeff Anderson This film kicks FATAL ATTRACTION'S ass. Diane Lane is a SEXY, BRILLIANT MARVEL IN THIS!!!!! 5 stars
9/13/04 Jim Adrian Lyne keeps making the same movie, but he does it fairly well. 4 stars
4/09/04 LIAM JACKSON what i wouldn't give to be olivier martinez in that doggy style scene. Lane is hot! 5 stars
1/26/04 me simple and cliched but well cast 3 stars
10/23/03 Goofy Maxwell Last half is a CSI episode w.o. the investigation, ruining a fine first half. 3 stars
10/01/03 TheOthersFan ridiculous.... could be unintentionably passed off as a black comedy 2 stars
8/18/03 Phil M. Aficionado Sommersby's review is right. Plot contrivances and story gaps undo great performances 3 stars
7/09/03 Gil Carlson Better than reviewed here. See this instead of Far From Heaven. 4 stars
5/23/03 bear dude, the sex scenes in this movie r better than playboy! check it out guys, good stuff 1 stars
2/24/03 SGT. TICKLEBELLY fun to see the french guy's head bashed in....the french are all gay. 2 stars
2/10/03 Janell Miller sucks,sucks,suck,sucks major dick 1 stars
2/04/03 Trixie Diane Lane was awesome 4 stars
1/05/03 malcolm death by sno globe 4 stars
12/28/02 Rayna Kuzio I really liked this movie, but not the ending.... 5 stars
12/25/02 Film Dude ...did I see the same movie as everyone else? 4 stars
12/16/02 Laurian Diaconescu If you can't see further than the sex scenes, it's really sad.A great movie.Very realistic. 5 stars
11/29/02 mike smith awesome 5 stars
11/17/02 Tim Taylor Another notch for Adrian Lynne! 4 stars
11/13/02 carl herman Lynne cheats us out of exploring many great results of infidelity; STD, saving the marriage 3 stars
10/03/02 Heidi Ho Suspense succumbs to comedy of coincidence: stuck elevator & auto collision. 3 stars
9/29/02 Peter Sherlock Very very ordinary 2 stars
8/03/02 Me Not You Freak has one of the funniest reviews I've read. Right on ! 1 stars
6/10/02 Heather Gender reversal of Fatal Attraction, great performance from Diane Lane, weak plot though 4 stars
6/08/02 ownerofdajoint diane lane makes it all worthwhile......say no more..... 5 stars
6/03/02 Poumpus and better than you Well it was just average but the fucking was awesome sometimes 5 stars
5/31/02 Flick Chick a hell of a lot better than "About A Boy" 3 stars
5/25/02 Suzz Predictable; even the sex got boring. 3 stars
5/17/02 Veronica Foxx Eric's right, starts w/interesting premise and does well, but then it just drops the ball. 2 stars
5/15/02 john loved it 4 stars
5/15/02 Film Guy I kinda was like BORED out of my mind 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  10-May-2002 (R)

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