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Fatal Attraction
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Reviews & Ratings for
Fatal Attraction More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Play 'Fatal Attraction' for me, instead.

10/10
Author: thesar-2 from United States
27 June 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Recently, I saw 'Play Misty for Me' for the first time and though it thoroughly reminded me of one of my all-time favorite films, 'Fatal Attraction,' I knew it not only came first, but more than a decade earlier. Not, that the idea/story behind any "fatal attraction" plot is anything new, I think 'Attraction' enormously doubled the suspense, realism and believability than 'Misty' could even come close. Sad to say, but I've met people like Close's character Alex on more than one occasion, though not so murderous, but sick nonetheless. Alex is obsessed with honest family man and lawyer Dan (Douglas) after just one weekend fling. Dan's loyal to his wife and daughter, despite his one mistake in committing adultery. And he's paid back tenfold by his incredibly huge error in judgment by selecting Alex. She's a very ill individual. Some say psycho, I say sick. (Much as I agree with the same statement for Norman Bates.) Not being a psychologist, or doctor, I do feel someone acting psycho is making a choice, something they knew they were doing. This is why Close was so good in this role (unlike the unbelievable acting of Walter in 'Misty.') Close showed such depths of someone completely sick and in need of help and yet most people (including Dan) would just brush it off as obsessive behavior. In addition, every actor in 'Attraction' was suburb, including the young daughter. I believed everything in this movie could (and probably does) happen, even the chance encounters, opportunities and down to the emotions the characters felt. It never felt slow, it felt real and that's what scared me the most.

Side Note: Other than Close's hair, the cord-phones and the shameless "I (heart) NY" ads, this could have very well been made today. I think that's one of the definitions of a classic. I can look past these three minor dated elements to cherish the role of Close's life and further my enjoyment of Douglas's wonderful works.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Up Close & Personal

8/10
Author: DAVID SIM from United Kingdom
15 February 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Fatal Attraction was one of the runaway hits of 1987. It also caused quite a stir among many minorities. Especially feminists who criticised its sexist, misogynist politics. When viewed today, and divorced from all the hype surrounding it, Fatal Attraction is a competent, compulsive thriller. But one that perhaps falls short of the enormous publicity it engendered.

Even a casual fan will know the plot of Fatal Attraction. It wasn't even the first film to address the pitfalls of one-night stands. That was done before by Clint Eastwood when he directed Play Misty For Me. And that was way back in 1971. Its always seemed unusual to me that Fatal Attraction was the far more successful film, even though it were rehashing an idea already done.

But still, there's no denying that Fatal Attraction is a rather involving film. Adrian Lyne's direction draws you right into the lives of the characters before you even know it yourself. Even when we see Michael Douglas eyeing up Glenn Close for a one-night stand, while Anne Archer is away for the weekend, we find it hard to pull ourselves away from the act of betrayal Dan is about to commit.

Equally compelling is the consequences of the act. Watching it snowball into a growing mountain of problems Dan has brought on himself. But for all that, I always feel a nagging sense of disappointment once I've finished watching Fatal Attraction. In spite of the attention the film received, there is something a bit naive about it. Glenn Close's character, Alex exists as nothing more then an attack on Dan's traditional values.

And the film becomes rather hypocritical in its second half. Dan's family seems to be the apex of all that is good and pure in this world. Something further reinforced by Adrian Lyne's lush, nostalgic direction. And yet when Alex tries to destroy that, are we just expected to ignore that Dan has all but done that himself? When he actually physically attacks Alex, I think we're expected to cheer him on. When in fact he set the whole event in motion.

Fatal Attraction is a much better film in its first half. Because at least at that point, we don't know exactly how far this film will go. Fatal Attraction was the first of several questionable roles Michael Douglas would choose to play. And he does quite well as Dan. Watching him bend under the pressure Alex keeps piling on him is never less than engaging.

And the role of Alex is the one that brought Glenn Close into the public eye. And the one that typecast her in the role of domineering, controlling women. Glenn Close certainly plays Alex to the hilt, becoming more and more deranged as the film goes on. But she is let down somewhat by the screenplay. James Dearden spends next to no time at all on Alex's background. We never even see her at her job. She just spends all her time hovering over Dan every step of the way. Aside from mood swings and paranoid obsession, Alex is a total blank.

I've always thought Anne Archer is a greatly underrated actress. She always projects a forthright attitude coupled with an incredibly warm personality. And she's quite sexy too! And I loved her as Beth. She quite lights up the screen whenever she's around. Why Dan would want to cheat on her with Alex is a mystery to me!

Adrian Lyne has brushed up a bit on his Hitchcock. And he does give us a few good shocks here and there. The bunny boiling has become the film's most famous scene. And its one that Lyne pulls off with aplomb. Beth walks up to the cooking pot, while her daughter does the same with her rabbit hutch. As soon as we find that the rabbit's gone, Beth takes the lid off the pot. Its a great bit of foreboding that works on two levels. And really packs a punch.

Nothing else in Fatal Attraction quite matches up to that scene. Even when Alex slits her wrists as a manipulation tactic, that's something Lyne has stolen from Play Misty For Me. But its when it moves towards its climax that the film's flaws sadly begin to overtake it. As you watch the film, you sense some misogyny aimed at Alex's character. And that's what winds up shaping the film's finale.

Lyne aims for a restoration of the status quo. Of conservative values winning out over Alex's vindictive behaviour. Quite a few scenes in the last 30 minutes are rather clumsily handled by Lyne. Like Alex kidnapping their daughter by taking her to a theme park. And then returning her. Why that is I have no idea? And then there's the grand finale. When Dan kills Alex in the harshest possible way. This ending was chosen over a far more low-key one when test audiences reacted badly to it. That only shows how willing Lyne was to cater to the demands of an audience. Even if it bent the film right out of shape.

At the end of the day, I do feel Fatal Attraction is rather overrated. It does manage to keep you involved. But it comes saddled with too many flaws to make it a proper classic. It seems much too afraid of its own implications that it opts for a cop-out ending. Anything to wrap things up in a neat little package. When a film has this many double-standards, it becomes hard to swallow what we're seeing.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Too Bad It's the Ending You'll Remember

7/10
Author: evanston_dad from United States
20 June 2008

"Fatal Attraction" is fatally flawed by an ending that goes too far, but the movie leading up to that schlocky mistake is much better than it has any right to be, and holds up quite well now (I saw part of it on T.V. not very long ago).

Clearly, what sets this movie apart from the trash it could have been is the strength of the acting, notably Glenn Close, who delivers an absolutely terrifying and morbidly fascinating performance as the one-night stand from hell. And this film (along with "Wall Street" from the same year) was the first to suggest that Michael Douglas was turning into a much better actor than his father ever was. Poor Anne Archer gets stuck with a dreary role, that of the victimized wife, and it doesn't come close to taking advantage of her skills as an actress.

Adrian Lyne's biggest claim to fame before this was "Flashdance," and I can't think of a movie he's made since. Lyne apparently comes from a world where every single woman lives in a deserted warehouse hidden down some smoke-filled back alley.

Grade: B+

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Know a good psychiatrist?

7/10
Author: paul_johnr from New York
16 May 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When 'Fatal Attraction' first appeared in 1987, it mixed elements that were destined to become a hot item. The film had a superb lead cast of Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, and Anne Archer. Add to this rundown the leadership of '9 ½ Weeks' director Adrian Lyne and a screenplay not only brimming with tension but also willing to pluck a sexual nerve in the AIDS-ridden landscape of 1980s America. Over $400 million in box office and video sales later, this film easily ranks as one of the most influential of its time and has spawned many clones in the erotic thriller genre.

'Fatal Attraction,' which was nominated for six Oscars, does just about everything right to create a thriller that stays in the mind long after being watched. James Dearden's screenplay (expanded from a BBC film short) is a concentrated effort on the lives of four people: attorney Dan Gallagher (Douglas), his wife Beth (Archer), his daughter Ellen (Ellen Hamilton Latzen), and publishing adviser Alex Forrest (Close), who meets Dan at a party and joins him for a weekend fling. Minor characters brush with the storyline, but Dearden limits key happenings to this quartet and shows how the briefest infidelity can lead to disaster. In 'Fatal Attraction,' Alex Forrest is every cheating husband's worst nightmare, a psychotic woman who will terrorize an entire family to get what she wants.

Adrian Lyne's thriller is very much of its time, dealing with a middle class family whose husband earns his pay in a changing workforce. Alex Forrest, played superbly by Close, is akin to the many (sane) women who enjoyed career advancement during the 1980s, when reactions built up against feminism of the previous decade. Beth Gallagher represents the traditional housewife, who shuns career to provide at home. These points are understated, however, and 'Fatal Attraction' is driven mostly by its character development, the absolute must for a successful thriller. As Alex wobbles out of control and Dan grows in desperation to stop her, 'Fatal Attraction' reaches unexpected levels of tension that rival any other such film in history. And it's unafraid to be repugnant and brutal, making use of attempted suicide, kidnapping, and a cooked rabbit.

I have not lately seen a film that produced so many conflicting emotions as 'Fatal Attraction.' In the opening 80 minutes, it has the gloss of a feminist tale; Alex is (supposedly) left pregnant by Dan, who considers his extramarital dealings over with and retreats into family life. But just as Alex gains your sympathy, she intrudes upon Dan's wife and daughter, making the film take on a completely different attitude. And here rests one of the movie's biggest flaws, in that James Dearden's screenplay doesn't reach its absolute potential; it stops short of an irreversible punishment for Dan's affair and heads toward a more conventional ending, albeit a very effective one. There are also considerable plot gaps (how does Alex take Ellen to an amusement park directly from school, without parents or teachers questioning?), but these problems are smoothed over by the fine performances, which come to embody outright good and evil.

'Fatal Attraction' was originally filmed with a quiet ending that went belly-up at preview screenings. A more approachable (and violent) finale was shot months after production had wrapped. Both endings are included on Paramount Pictures' 2002 DVD release, which bears a 'special collector's edition' label. The disc (a volume of Paramount's 'widescreen collection') is worth every nickel, containing a pristine feature and several extras. Helped by its newness, 'Fatal' is in excellent visual condition with a choice of 5.1 surround sound or Dolby surround. Also supplied are French 'dubbing' and English subtitles. A commentary track with Adrian Lyne makes up one of the special features, along with three featurettes on production of the film: 'Forever Fatal: Remembering Fatal Attraction,' 'Social Attraction,' and 'Visual Attraction.' Topping it off are VHS rehearsal clips of Douglas, Close, and Anne Archer before 'Fatal' entered production, the original (and in my opinion weaker) ending, and the theatrical trailer.

Adrian Lyne's commentary is both pleasant and informative, relating to the goings-on in his quiet, casual manner. The three featurettes shed new light on this film, allowing cast members and crew to reflect on its artistic and social impact over the last twenty years. 'Visual Attraction' is most interesting, giving due credit to the people whose attire (costume designer Ellen Mirojnick), facial work (makeup artist Richard Dean), photography (cinematographer Howard Atherton), and sets (production designer Mel Bourne) are easily forgotten in a movie without huge special effects or epic scenes. Always hard-hitting and almost guaranteed to keep married men in line (*wink*), 'Fatal' remains a diamond in the rough and a standard of 1980s film-making.

*** out of 4

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

He wants to have his cake and to eat it too...

7/10
Author: OnlyRocknRoll from United States
31 May 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

One of the few movies that shows the *really* downside of extramarital "casual" sex! A man with a good marriage and family can't resist his sexual ego and jeopardizes everything for what he thinks will be a one night fling--instead he tangles with a woman who has gone over the brink from one too many experiences of being used. I don't think she was so obsessed with him per se, but lost her reason because she simply wasn't going to be used and discarded AGAIN. I'm one of the few people who doesn't believe the Alex character was pregnant. I think that was part of her delusion--something she wanted to be true because she was in her late 30's, unmarried, and no potential spouse and child on the foreseeable horizon. The script gives the audience next to nothing to work with about Alex's past and what happened with other men that turns her into a stalker with Dan. But how many women are satisfied being treated as disposable sex objects? Another part of her delusion was thinking she could have a real relationship with someone married; or that he would automatically leave his wife if she said she was pregnant.

The movie doesn't tell us what will happen to Dan & Beth's marriage, but after everything Beth went through because of what her husband did, I just can't see them returning to their "ideal" family in the country setting again. I see Beth kicking Dan's butt out of the door.

Ann Archer as Beth puts in one of her best performances ever. She goes from sweet wife and mother through sheer terror until she puts an end to the threat to her whole way of life. But I think it was love for and protection of her child, rather than love for her husband, that gave her the strength to fight back. Michael Douglas as Dan goes from cocky and self-satisfied at the beginning to whiny and pathetic at the end. There's no sympathy for his egotism that caused the whole mess to happen.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Prime example of the effect of Test Audiences in Hollywood.

Author: Poseidon-3 from Cincinnati, OH
3 January 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The genre of "sexual thriller" was kicked up a notch after this first class entry had an impact on audiences and, thus, Hollywood. Douglas plays a hot-shot attorney who makes the mistake of entering into casual sex with an associate (Close) while his wife Archer and their little daughter Latzen are away for the weekend. What starts out as two consenting adults engaged in a no-strings fling takes a startling turn when Close refuses to let go of Douglas and begins stalking him and his family. That's the story in a nutshell (and a template that would serve many cinematic imitators in the film's wake), but what sets this apart is strong direction and production design and some thoughtful, even great, performances from the lead actors. The film changed the direction of all their careers. Douglas had a banner year in 1997. Not only did he star in this mega-hit, which sparked much conversation and debate among film-goers, but he took home the Best Actor Oscar for his work in "Wall Street", released around the same time. Prior to then, he had been a TV actor, a producer and a serviceable leading man in films. Oddly, despite building a considerable career since, the Academy hasn't so much as nominated him again. Archer, who'd been around for a while as an ingénue and familiar TV face, found herself in a whole new category (albeit briefly) as leading lady against heavy hitters like Gene Hackman and Harrison Ford. Close revolutionized her career. Previously seen as a gentle, stalwart, wholesome personality, she blew the lid off her preconceived image with a ferocious, terrifying portrayal. Many folks were stunned when Cher got the Oscar that year instead of her. The dynamic between these three performers, along with several frenetically staged set pieces, is what makes this film memorable. Douglas is a sort of "Everyman" who makes a very poor error in judgement and pays dearly for it. This is a trend he would repeat in many films after this. Archer is appealing and attractive, but no pushover. Close is frankly sexy, but also hauntingly unbalanced and feral. Special mention must also be made of Latzen, who at no time resembles any stage mother-driven Hollywood brat, but instead is so natural and believable as a child. Her reaction to the turmoil between her parents is a real heart-breaker. Director Lyne was detailed in the extreme when it came to the look of the film and it shows. The biggest dividing line for fans of the film is the ending. The original ending was rather quiet and downbeat and even a little open-ended (but with a suggested positive ending for Douglas and Archer.) It also matched the story points as laid out in the script (references to "Madame Butterfly".) This proved dissatisfying to test audiences and so a far more violent and intense ending was shot. While this certainly ratcheted up the excitement level, it wound up sacrificing some artistry in exchange for box office dollars. One ending was perhaps a bit too somber while the other was far too unrealistic. It's a shame that something in the middle couldn't have been worked out. Fortunately, thanks to home video, audiences can view both endings and make up their mind that way. (It should be noted that Close, who had put an immense amount of thought and research into her character, was against the revised ending despite the fact that it helped gain her legions of new fans.) Eventually, theaters were flooded with scorned psychos until the formula was bled dry, but this remains the high-water mark for such productions.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

good

Author: jdemarsh from minneapilis
25 March 2003

this movie was good. man this girl was mad yo! you could tell just by listening to that tape she leaves in the car that says "play me" this movie is rated r for language, bloody violence, strong sexual content, and nudity

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Original Ending Much Better

Author: BananaMan838 from USA and thats all u need to know
16 May 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Spoilers!!! This is the original psychotic woman stalks man movie. After this movie Michael Douglas did a million other movies like this(Basic Instinct, Disclosure, etc). So anyway, this movie is OK. Glenn Close does a stunning job and Anne Artcher does a cliche and mediocore job. Michael does, how shall i say, not well. I don't understand why he was praised for this role. I think Douglas needs some acting lessons and quick. Now, the ending is good wins. Alex tries to kill the wife but fails and the wife shoots and kills her. Then, everyone lives happily ever after but I think that is the worst ending in cinematic history. Number 1, why does Anne Archer suddenly forgive her husband. He did a horrible crime and she's the cliche, cliche housewife who just loves her husband so much. But see, Alex(Glenn Close) is bad but so is Michael Douglass. HE should not go unpunished. The beginning is intriguing and at times frighting how Close stalks Douglass but the end is just bad. They should have more interaction with Archer when she finds out about the cheating. Nothing happens with her emotions. All she does is kick him out. There should also be things with thier daughter. Things about her emotions and reactions. But put all that aside the original ending could have really helped the movie overall. You can see it on the special edition DVD. The original ending was wonderful. Alex got hers but so did Doulgas. What happened is Alex kills herself but all the evidence points to Douglas and he is charged with her murder. Then Archer finds some incrimanating tapes on Close and she runs to the police. When this ending was shown on a test viewing. The audience hated it not knowing how much they would ruin it. They must have been crazy. Overall an Ok movie that had amazing potential.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Classic Psychotic Affair Movie

Author: Love2U
28 March 2002

Of all the Psycho movies involving an illicit affair, this one is the granddaddy of them all. Michael Douglas has become known for these roles where he's a very flawed but nevertheless likeable guy who finds himself trapped by his own regrettable actions. In this movie, his weakness for Glenn Close is all the more hard to take when he has such a sweet, perfect wife in Anne Archer. This movie created quite a bit of controversy when it first came out and remains provocative even today.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

They almost got it right...

Author: Steve Lega (sl006k@mail.rochester.edu) from Univ. of Rochester, NY
21 February 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SPOILER ALERT After viewing the original and thoroughly enjoying it, I viewed the original and subsequently cut ending.

The original ending, with Alex killing herself and Dan being accused, left many unanswered questions, whereas the ending that was shown in the final product was the stereotypical, Hollywood, almost happy ending. When initially viewing it, I anticipated a hybrid of the two endings, with Alex being murdered and Dan being blamed for it, giving it a negative ending, with punnishment for the adulterer as opposed to dan getting away with it and a happy ending for the Gallagher family.

Nevertheless, this movie is a classic, one of the best movies of the 80s. Highly recommended

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