CHANNEL 4 4SEVEN E4 MORE4 FILM4 4MUSIC 4oD

Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • Drama, Thriller
  • 2002
  • 123 mins

Unfaithful

Unfaithful

Synopsis

A bored suburban housewife falls for an attractive young bohemian, much to her husband's chagrin, in this puerile slice of soft-focus and artful angst from the director of Fatal Attraction

About

Lovers are often thrown together in movies - but literally blown together? Not even Gone With The Wind harnessed the elements to such blustery effect. This is how suburban housewife and mother Connie Sumner (Lane) ends up in the arms of her tempestuous younger lover, Paul (Martinez). When a howling gale on the streets of SoHo, New York, sends the two barrelling into each other like a couple of clumps of attractive, designer tumbleweed, the bruised knees spark an immediate, and by the look of the brooding, saturnine Paul, risky infatuation.

You can hardly blame Connie, whose days revolve around a son, Charlie (Sullivan), who will easily bag the next Oscar for Most Irritating Screen Kid, and a husband, Edward (Gere), whose lacklustre, college-professor demeanour belies an unlikely, but thematically appropriate, sinecure as the owner of a Securicor-type armoured car company. But women like Connie would not exist on celluloid, were it not to suffer some terrible unravelling. She can't bear the betrayal of her family and fights to end the affair. But too late, Edward has already got wind of her afternoon trysts and pays Paul a visit.

Lyne took his story from Claude Chabrol's La Femme Infidéle but anyone hoping for a similarly subtle scrutiny of family mores and morally complex, destructive desires will be sorely disappointed by Unfaithful. It's become a critical cliché to peg Lyne as a crude, empty stylist, whose characters are nothing more than ciphers in slick, airbrushed stories - see 9 1/2 Weeks, his woeful Lolita remake and the incredibly stupid Indecent Proposal - but, again, that's pretty much the case here.

The story feels not so much written as engineered, with the characters adding up exactly to what's required for the convolutions of the plot, which suffers a terrible set of wrong turns half way through and squanders any sympathy the audience may have had for the protagonists. Although generally by this time, the soft-focus and artful angst, combined with the Grand Guignol, will have most people gagging.

The film is crammed with A-list talent, which generally misfires. Gere, who long ago disappeared into a miasma of self-regard, is either absent or at sea - a leading man scratching his head, wondering why he has to play the patsy. Martinez plays his French seducer with a Gallic shrug, and doubtless enjoyed the Hollywood pay cheque. But it's not all bad, Diane Lane is as sexy a fortysomething as you could wish to watch, especially in the bath or with her hands down her knickers. In the early part of the film she's provides a tantalising glimmer of the ambivalence and moral double bind buried at the heart of her character. A little more of this and the film wouldn't be such a turkey.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Michelle Monaghan, Margaret Colin, Diane Lane, Dominic Chianese, Olivier Martinez, Richard Gere, Myra Lucretia Taylor, Erik Per Sullivan, Kate Burton
  • Director: Adrian Lyne
  • Writer: Alvin Sargent, William Broyles Jr
  • Producer: G Mac Brown, Adrian Lyne
  • Photographer: Peter Biziou
  • Composer: Jan A Kaczmarek

In a nutshell

More tosh from Lyne. Rather than bother with Unfaithful, rent La Femme Infidéle and wait to see Diane Lane in her next movie.

by Charlie Jackson

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4 The Babadook

    The Babadook

    Widowed mum Amelia (Essie Davis) finds caring for her wayward child Samuel (Noah Wiseman) a tall order. But shes more or less coping until a scary picture book about the mysterious Babadook starts to haunt this single parent family

  • Film4 This Is Where I Leave You

    This Is Where I Leave You

    Shortly after discovering his wifes infidelity, Judd (Jason Bateman) learns of the death of his father. Forced to return to his childhood home to spend a week with his mother, four siblings and his extended family, Judd tries to take stock of his life.

  • Film4 Beasts of the Southern Wild

    Beasts Of The Southern Wild on Film4

    Quvenzhané Wallis stars in an Oscar-nominated role as the six year-old Hushpuppy in Benh Zeitlin's magical realist drama on Film4

  • Film4 Killer Joe

    Killer Joe on Film4

    Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch and Juno Temple star in William Friedkin's noir thriller on Film4

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Joe Cunningham's 11 recommendations for LFF 14

    Unfortunately I haven¿t been jet setting around the world this year to the various exciting international film festivals, but that¿s what makes the London Film Festival¿s compilation approach to progr

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Michael Leader's 11 recommendations for LFF 2014

    One of the best things about the London Film Festival¿s smorgasbord approach to programming is that, amongst the world premieres and gala screenings, there¿s an eclectic collection of exciting films o

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share