Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA/Germany/France, 2002. Fox 2000 Pictures, Regency Enterprises, Epsilon Motion Pictures, Unfaithful Filmproduktion GmbH & Co. KG. Screenplay by Alvin Sargent, William Broyles Jr., based on the film La Femme Infidele by Claude Chabrol. Cinematography by Peter Biziou. Produced by G. Mac Brown, Adrian Lyne. Music by Jan A.P. Kaczmarek. Production Design by Brian Morris, Raj Uppal. Costume Design by Ellen Mirojnick. Film Editing by Anne V. Coates. Academy Awards 2002. Golden Globe Awards 2002. New York Film Critics Awards 2002.
Diane Lane plays a happily married housewife to Richard Gere who, while shopping for her son’s birthday present one windy day in Manhattan, bumps into a hunky French bookseller (Olivier Martinez) and befriends him. Pretty soon she’s on the bumpy road to lusty romance as she begins a passionate affair with Martinez until she decides that she can no longer reconcile her infidelity with her happy family life. Unfortunately, she makes this decision at the same time that her husband finds out about the entire thing. The film features exceptionally acute and elegant direction by Adrian Lyne, who surprises us all by going from having made one of the most anti-feminist films of all time (Fatal Attraction, perhaps by accident, I won’t insist) to this deeply probing drama that doesn’t pass any serious judgement on its fascinating lead character. Nor does he venerate her as any kind of saint: Lane’s character is not married to a bad man, or even an emotionally unavailable one. In her performance, Lane couldn’t be better or sexier: you want to just watch this woman for hours and hours, her every emotion is completely fascinating to behold (her scene where she recounts her first sexual encounter with Martinez while taking the train home to the suburbs is exceptional).