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Director: Adrian Lyne
Writer: Alvin Sargent, William Broyles Jr.
Producers: Adrian Lyne, Mac Browne
Diane Lane
Richard Gere
Olivier Martinez
A seemingly happy suburban wife with a doting husband and goofy kid suddenly finds herself in a passionate tryst with a French guy living in New York. As she keeps going back for the nookie, her husband begins to suspect something (must’ve been her newfound love of underarm hair) and decides to look into it further. Diane Lane’s sexy legs, Dick Gere, a good looking French guy and oh yeah…moral dilemmas ensue.
A surprisingly good movie. I gotta admit that the trailer for this flick, the fact that director Adrian Lyne was once again hitting the “infidelity” angle and the Richard Gere factor (I love the guy, but he seems to play the same dude over and over) initially lowered my expectations for this movie, but surprised was I when it delivered in performances, story, and as per most well-crafted films of its type, plenty of discussion afterwards. Of course, the “moral” of the story, a mantra that I’ve personally subscribed to for some time now, is that, well…cheating sucks! No matter how you slice it, fooling around behind your partner’s back (that’s the person you’re supposed to love, remember?) is just damn wrong! And not only is it wrong, but it leads to more lies, more deceptions and ultimately…more hurt. This film gives you all that and more. It is a small picture though: it doesn’t feature a zillion characters, a million sets or a thousand points of view. It’s about three people, two of whom are married to one another, an illicit affair and the devastating aftereffects of their actions. It’s not an easy movie to watch, and even though it does contain some very sexy scenes (two words: doggie and style), it strays away from the commercial route, and maintains its realistic, honest and quite depressing outlook on this sensitive subject matter. It’s also jam-packed with mucho symbolism, including the very last shot of the movie, which leaves itself open to various interpretations, and does finally give women the “upper hand” in the game of sexual inhibition.

I also found it quite amusing to see Richard Gere, an actor who’s been accused of starring in too many romance flicks with women half his age, as the more sedate homebody here, with his wife ironically cheating on him with a younger guy. Nice! As for the acting, I thought I was going to despise the French dude from the looks of the trailer, but Olivier Martinez won me over with his charm, his abs and yes…his ultra cool hair. He’s also the spitting image of a young Dick Gere, but let’s not go there. And speaking of Gere, he’s another one who surprised and impressed me in this picture. For one, he wasn’t playing your “typical” Gere character (that’s right, the blue suit and tie are gone), and for two, he delivered when he needed to during his character’s pivotal “money” scenes, and made a believer out of me. But the real linchpin of this film is the extremely underrated and very lovely actress, Diane Lane. Not only does Lane capture this woman’s many (and I mean…many!) nuanced moments of self-doubt, confusion, love, anger, shame, fear, guilt and passion, but she also convinces as the sexy mom with a secret. Easily the best performance by an actress that I’ve seen so far this year. You go, girl! (ps: call me!) As for the story itself, like I said earlier, it’s an interesting one, it kept me going the whole way, it didn’t feel like anything close to two hours (which is its actual runtime) and it left plenty of symbolic cues for those interested in dissecting it all even further.

Sure, the themes touched upon are very similar to Lyne’s previous cinematic efforts, including 9 1/2 WEEKS, INDECENT PROPOSAL and FATAL ATTRACTION (he even employs similar devices in some scenes, including an elevator, a kitchen knife and oh yeah…a boiling pot), but the way its presented here is more intimate, more credible and less Hollywood. This is an adult movie, it’s about serious issues, it’s drenched in melancholy, it develops its characters well and it presents us with relevant themes which are present in many couples’ everyday lives. Oh yeah, it’s also shot beautifully, with New York looking as inviting as ever. To cheat or not to cheat…that is the question. The answer? See this movie and discuss.

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian




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