Written by: James Dearden
Starring: Glenn Close, Michael Douglas, Anne Archer, Stuart Pankin, Ellen Foley
The American family unit has been the building block to many successful lives and has been touted as the moral and acceptable way to live. It involves a commitment to fidelity between the married couple, which seemingly has become so difficult to maintain. The slightest sexual frustration can lead towards a night seeking pleasure, but there are consequences involved to any of these indiscretions as shown in Fatal Attraction. A provocative look at real consequences and unintentionally displays the opposite of what its message should be.
Living what many would consider a great life, Manhattan lawyer, Daniel Gallagher (Michael Douglas) hits the city night life with his wife and daughter away for the weekend. He has an affair with a publishing editor, Alex Forrest (Glenn Close). Their weekend affair turns into much more in the eyes of Alex as she continues to make unreciprocated contact with Daniel, who wants to slot the weekend away as a no-strings-attached fling.
Men like Daniel certainly reach a new level of absurdity with how much they can screw up a perfectly great situation. Successful in his career with a gorgeous and loving wife along with a wonderful child. What more could the man ask for in life? Apparently with his family away, he takes the opportunity to engage in an indiscretion he believes he has complete control over. His brief sexual relationship with Alex provides everything he could possibly want: he gets to have an affair to achieve all the sexual gratification he wants and hopes to wrap it up and return to his perfect life as if nothing of consequence occurred.
Very easily this could have all worked out perfectly for him, but thankfully Alex decided to not let him forget it. In this review is where I make the case of Daniel being the ultimate villain of this piece with how he believes he can use women for his own pleasure and toss them aside whenever he pleases. He certainly does with Alex but also does the same with his wife when discarding any notion of fidelity by having an affair. In my eyes, Alex serves as a form of comeuppance for Daniel but goes too far in her retribution ultimately leading her to be seen as the villain. I mean, when it gets to the point where she murders a rabbit in cold blood she reaches a point of no return, unfortunately. However, Alex’s character serves as the tragic decline of someone who seemingly had her life together until this man thought he could use her for sexual gratification.
Fatal Attraction seeks to have fun with its premise and its thriller vibes as the steamy weekend turns into subsequent horrifying days for Daniel. The lengths Alex is willing to go in order to not have him forget ultimately just makes me feel bad for his family rather than the man himself. The manipulation goes the other way as Daniel tried to make her move on with life and now she’ll make sure she will not be forgotten. The thriller elements get the job done in displaying the potential harm Alex could cause Daniel on a social level because he purports to live the classic American Dream lifestyle but refuses to acknowledge his detachment from it until it becomes absolutely inevitable.
Glenn Close has continually received praise for this performance and rightfully so as she becomes the heartbeat of this story. Michael Douglas remains this schlubby guy I want nothing to do with. Close’s go as Alex shows the real tragedy of this character as this affair certainly did a number on her mentally and emotionally to the point where she would resort to these actions. Close captures the unhinged nature of the character while also showing the pain behind the eyes. Yes, Alex knew Daniel had a family and the intention of the weekend was only meant to be for the restricted time, but why is he allowed to just pick up his things and move on? I’m obviously on team Alex and Close’s performance remains a big part of the reason why, until she kills the rabbit, of course.
Serving as a good reminder of action having consequences, Fatal Attraction should be mandatory viewing for all guys in any sort of romantic relationship. The only victim to all of this infidelity is his family seeing as he seemingly gets everything he wants in life. The finale goes in ways one would expect with this type of story but it does make me wonder the amount of therapy and marriage counseling that will be needed afterward.