By Shawn McKenzie 05/07/2002
Warning! Major spoilers!
How do you end a movie about the conflict of infidelity?
That was the question I asked myself as I was watching Unfaithful. I was not that happy with the ending of this movie, but, unlike movie endings in other movies that I didn't like (Panic Room comes to mind), I couldn't see it ending any other way.
Let me explain by first laying out the plot of the film. Unfaithful is a remake of the 1969 French film La Femme Infidele (The Unfaithful Wife.) It is the story of a young wife and mother named Connie Sumner (Diane Lane) who literally runs into a young French stud named Paul Martel (Oliver Martinez) on a windy day and ends up having an affair with him. When her husband Edward (Richard Gere) becomes suspicious, he hires private investigator Frank Wilson (Dominic Chianese) to follow her. When Frank confirms his suspicions, he goes to Paul's apartment to confront him. In a sudden fit of rage, he kills Paul and hides the body. The police suspect the Sumners (they seem to think Connie is more guilty than Edward), but they have no luck. Connie and Edward try to deal with the situation and move on, but the guilt racks up. It ends with them in front of the police station talking about what they plan to do. My guess is that they have come to the conclusion that Edward has to turn himself in.
I have just recently read that director Adrian Lyne will redo the ending before it gets released in theaters because preview audiences hated the ending. Apparently this isn't the first time he has done this. In Lyne's classic Fatal Attraction, Glenn Close's character Alex was originally going to commit suicide and Michael Douglas's character Dan was going to be arrested for her murder. He changed it to the ending that we all know and love for the same reason. I honestly don't know which ending I saw, but I am suspecting it is the first version. If you see this movie once it is released, let me know if it is different by telling me on the Entertain Your Brain Message Board.
Other than the ending, Unfaithful is a very interesting and gripping movie. If you are uncomfortable with sexually explicit scenes, I would avoid this movie, but they are not gratuitous. They show the intensity of the affair and her initial attitude that Paul is just fulfilling the one thing that is missing in her marriage to Edward (the sexual intensity.) Otherwise you can tell she loves Edward. She feels intense guilt after each meeting with Paul. When she learns of Paul's death and starts crying, I wondered if it was because he was dead or because she finally realized how badly she had hurt Edward.
Will this film be as controversial and talked about as Lyne's previous films, like 9 1/2 Weeks, Fatal Attraction, Indecent Proposal, or Lolita? Probably not, because the movie isn't breaking any new ground and of all of Lyne's sexually explicit scenes throughout his career, this movie's scenes are relatively tame. Lyne once again has the same moral to his story: sex can and will lead to extreme consequences.
I prefer to use an old cliché: don't do the crime (cheating) if you can't do the
time. Edward will do the time, and Connie will live with the guilt
forever. They should have watched Fatal Attraction and learned from
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