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Indecent Proposal
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Indecent Proposal More at IMDbPro »

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Uneven but makes good points about jealousy and trust

Author: shmucking from United States
7 March 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The film is at it's best in the scenes where Woody Harrelson is feeling jealous about Demi Moore's lovemaking with Robert Redford. When he's struggling with his obsessions about it, there is a certain validity that rings true, and he has a great scene near the end where he tells Moore that he was insecure about himself, but isn't anymore. The romance between Harrelson and Moore has a genuine quality that is sweet and sincere.

There are problems, however, with Redford's character and Redford himself. Moore is so obviously not attracted to Redford that their romantic scenes together look uncomfortable. Her character is supposed to be attracted to him, but it isn't convincing. You can tell she's turned off by him, and when she kisses him, she looks like she's kissing her dad. Redford plays the role with his usual mellow likability and smoothness, but it doesn't match the character he's playing. It doesn't seem believable that he'd offer money to sleep with someone's wife. He seems too easy-going and amiable to make such an offer. It seems like Redford is having fun playing the role, and being a good sport about it, but not really connecting with the darker side of the character. Overall, an interesting film with some valid comments about overcoming jealousy and having trust in the love you share with your partner, but it falls short of being truly successful.

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Really good movie

Author: Debashish Kumar from Australia
8 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Have I watched a different movie? I am really shocked to see such a good movie get only 5.3 stars. Plot? Good Acting? Good Direction? Good

The conflict in the minds of both the D's is shown very well.The night they cant sleep, they talk about it, they try to justify it because they know that it will take all their troubles away. It was very important that their financial crises was shown properly otherwise neither would have considered the deal. And it was. Maybe the lines "Did I ever tell you I love you......" are a little cheesy, but every couple has some...and they had theirs. The criticism I have read is rather empty. You can't rate a movie bad just because it's depressing. Did The Godfather get you all pumped up to join the mafia or what? Some people are cursing the billionaire. It couldn't be clearer that he DID care for her. He cared for her enough to barge into her class, to get her to show him some properties,cared for her enough to let her go (maybe the reason was also partially selfish, still) all he wanted was a chance. Being a billionaire and someone who is used to getting what he wants, he made the "Indecent Proposal" and pursued her till she gave into him. People are saying that there's no message in the movie. The simplest message was that when you marry someone, you promise to take care of them. D failed to do that and left a big scar on his marriage. But because their love was true, she came back to him."If you let go off of something and it never comes back to you, then it was never truly yours to begin with "...(or something like that)...

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A lost opportunity

Author: ecjones1951 from United States
29 June 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've always had problems with the title. The word "indecent" means immodest, obscene; unfit for society. When used these days, the word is almost invariably followed by "exposure." "Audacious Proposal" would have made more sense.

The premise is well-known by now, and presents opportunities to muse about the relevance of marital fidelity, personal scruples, and the seductive and emotional power of money, but it sidesteps, muddies or ignores every one of them. It could have addressed any or all of them and still be entertaining and a conversation starter.

Billionaire John Gage (Robert Redford) offers one million dollars to a struggling couple, Diana and David Murphy (Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson), if he can sleep with her for one night. The proposal is intrepid, adventurous and bold, but it is not indecent. Diana accepts the offer and follows through with the assignation, all the while reminding David that she is doing it for him, to further his career as an architect. I suppose her oft-repeated declaration is meant to show us that yes Diana does too have scruples. See? she can call upon them whenever she wants to.

Diana's tight-lipped and blithe insouciance once the tryst is history and the money is in the bank drives David out of his mind. Director Adrian Lyne wisely keeps Diana's and Gage's night on the yacht out of camera range. (Seeing the hideous gray dress he asks her to wear is enough.) It's too bad he didn't do the same with David's petulance, self-pity and masochism, which overshadows everything else in the second act. David is supposed to be a bright and promising architect whose marriage to Diana is solid as a rock. Of course, the only way we know this is through a lightning fast exposition of their courtship and marriage, told mostly through photos shot with a lens metaphorically coated in Vaseline. In "Love Story," Jenny reminded Oliver many times that "love means never having to say you're sorry." These two like to ask each other the equally inane, "have I ever told you that I love you?"

When Demi Moore gives the best performance in a movie, that's saying something. Although Diana is an underwritten role, the character isn't maddeningly one-note like those of David and Gage. She is two-dimensional, which is as fleshed out as any Lyne character ever gets. Lyne is no more secure in his leading lady's acting abilities than most other directors, so he gives her the expected opportunities to show some skin. Sketchy roles never seem to allow Moore any freedom; she tends to hem herself in. But someone has to restrain themselves in the aftermath of Diana's night on the yacht. As noted, David has gone to pieces with rage and jealousy. Diana cannot deal with his meltdown; his suspicions, leading questions and accusations drive her away.

Meanwhile, John Gage is waiting for Diana around every corner. He is essentially stalking her, but his behavior is supposed to come off as charming. When she, on the other hand -- with good reason -- crashes one of Gage's business luncheons, it's cause for alarm; Diana's behavior is "inappropriate" and unacceptable. This is a double standard Hollywood reinforces over and over again. But soon Diana puts up only token resistance to Gage's pursuit. She didn't when he offered her and David that lifetime of financial security with but one little catch.

Diana eventually caves in, and she and Gage get busy making the social rounds. What they find to talk about is anyone's guess, but Moore and Redford do make for an attractive couple. The passage of time is indicated by David and Diana's both getting teaching jobs. He teaches architecture and suggests bricks are blessed with self-determination. I told you he went nuts after Diana slept with Gage. For her part, Diana teaches U.S. citizenship. Her pupils, all well into adulthood, giggle like 8-year-olds when Gage crashes the class to declare he's crazy about Diana. Even though she has divorced David, her days with Gage as an item at gala openings and silly charity functions are numbered. The time comes for Diana to go back to David, having learned what, exactly? "Have I ever told you I loved you?" "Would we have been able to handle the million bucks any better if we'd earned it?" The credits roll before they begin to figure this out.

I want scriptwriters to STOP recycling Mr. Bernstein's anecdote about the girl on the Jersey ferry from "Citizen Kane." Gage gets to give that little speech here, adapted for modern times. The problem is, the conclusion he wants Diana to draw from it is exactly the opposite of what he says.

"Indecent" describes the amount of money the picture took in at the box office -- about $199,000.000 more worldwide than Gage offers the Murphys. If this is Lyne's idea of a "message picture," as they used to call them, he should have used FedEx.

It's much more fun to write about a middling movie than a great one or even a very bad one.

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No Great Surprises

Author: gcd70 from Melbourne, Australia
11 November 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Adrian Lyne, who so successfully chilled us with "Fatal Attraction", has this time come to challenge us with "Indecent Proposal".

Robert Redford is John Gage, the multi-millionaire who offers David Murphy (Woody Harrelson) one million dollars for one night with the latter's wife (Demi Moore). The question is, what will they do? Suffice to say the young couple show little morality (and even less sense) as they allow money to spoil their wonderful relationship. Although I was disappointed with the character's respective actions and reactions, the film does teach an all too obvious lesson on the perils of mixing love and money.

No great surprises, and cynics won't appreciate the ending, but the cast are competent in a fairly good movie.

Friday, May 14, 1993 - Knox District Centre

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Money vs love

Author: Michael Papalabrou (nautilus_gr)
11 May 2002

Even though the main story is about something that is not very likely to happen, this film has a strange way to approach real life and bring it so realistic to the screen. What we see in the film is the everyday life of a couple that has to work in order to live. And they do, and they are happy, until the day they experience an 'earthquake' in their relationship. The earthquake is Robert Redford's indecent proposal.

Apart from bringing in an incredibly realistic way the dilemma they have in front of them, the film also shows many ways in which a person can express love to another person; it can be done by fighting, by talking, by understanding, by appreciating, by thinking. But, what about money; and, especially when we are talking about people who live without lots of it.

When you see this film and the story ends, you will find yourself thinking. I cannot predict what you'll be thinking, but I am sure that after you see the end of the film, you'll think about it for some time.

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Don't sleep with anyone for money.

Author: Robbert Edelman ( from Nieuwegein, the Netherlands
30 March 2000

This movie sends us a strong message. It tells us not to sleep with anyone for money. Don't ever value money over love. And don't think you can just have sex without feeling something. Sex is about feeling love. No wonder it is called "making love". Love feeds passion and passion feeds love. There is a truth in that, and if you don't feel it, you may be missing something. If your relationship is strong enough it will overcome problems like almost losing your house. It will also overcome a mistake like this. But never think you can ignore what has happened and just not talk about it. People have memories and things like that will stick.

Excellent acting, good story.

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stirs thought

Author: karma-20 from Sydney, Australia
18 December 1999

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

WARNING: knowing me, this comment will probably contain some spoilers!!

I first viewed this film when I was about 12 and I remember thinking that this was the first movie that I had viewed which made me think, long and hard. Of course about whether or not I would've sold my body had I been in the same circumstances, but it made me think more of the 'love' thing between the married couple and the ending. Needless to say, I was very surprised at the ending because I was young and naieve and didn't read between the lines.

I saw this film again recently. This time, I thought the ending was more inevitable. I really like this film because it stirs thought and conversation. I think many people dislike this film not because of the acting or an actual fault in the movie itself, but more of the actions that Demi Moore take in sleeping with Robert Redford. I think people view this film ethically and dislike it because of their ethical stance and not because the film itself was made poorly.

Even now, after 4 years since first seeing this film, I still wouldn't have an answer to Robert Redford's million dollar question. Not a truthful one anyway. I would like to think that I had the self-dignity and self-respect to not let anyone 'purchase' me like that but in all honesty, I really don't know. It's one of those questions where there are no correct answers and there won't be any winners. By sleeping with the man, you lose your self-worth and your dignity (especially in a marriage). By not sleeping with him, you would most probably resent it later on and may have thought that you should have.

This really isn't much of a review, but I think this is a film that everyone should see. The question is not whether you like it or not, it's whether you would or not.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

An edgy, high-end mess

Author: Mr-Fusion from United States
2 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

INDECENT PROPOSAL is one of those movies that pretty much spells itself out. You know what kind of provocative early '90s movie you're getting yourself into, and it doesn't take long to put the pieces together as to how things will turn out. Young couple needs money for their dream house, meets really rich guy who wants one night with the pretty wife. Five minutes' worth of deliberation ensues before they accept the offer and then it's the bad news of distrust, infighting and marital implosion from there. What makes this movie tough to swallow is . . . well, it's mostly the script. These aren't very sympathetic characters (c'mon, Harrelson, you have a wife that looks like that and you think you'll be okay after turning her out for a million bucks? Don't be an idiot!), and it makes their choices in the film's 1st act hard to stomach. Really think you're gonna net all the money you need in Vegas? Seriously!

But the other reason is Robert Redford. He's all wrong for the part of absurdly rich and sociopathic John Gage, who buys other guys' wives like he does cigars and speedboats. The actions of this guy and the dialogue that comes out of his mouth are deplorable; but that doesn't suit Redford, whose boyish charm and likability runs completely counter to the character we're supposed to despise.

Aside from Woody Harrelson's terrifically tortured performance in this movie, INDECENT PROPOSAL doesn't have much (if anything) to offer beyond the water-cooler appeal of its taboo hook: Would you let your wife spend a night with another man so you can pay your bills? It makes for a good five-minute discussion about morals (maybe), but it doesn't support a two-hour movie. It's hard to be mad at this movie when the cards are seemingly all on the table from the get-go, but it's still an aggravating two hours. Not a fan of any of these characters, even though I'm supposed to root for Harrelson and Moore (who looks stunning in this movie), and it just feels so trashy watching this thing.


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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Love sex and lies- a one time watch movie

Author: Sanjhbati M from India
3 August 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Indecent Proposal is a 1993 drama film based on the novel of the same name by Jack Engelhard. It was directed by Adrian Lyne and stars Robert Redford, Demi Moore, and Woody Harrelson. Plot- They are high-school sweethearts who marry and who are doing very well -- Diana is a successful real-estate agent, and David is an idealistic architect who has built a dream house by the ocean -- until the recession hits. Suddenly, David loses his job, and they can't make the mortgage payments. Dead broke, they borrow $5000 from David's father and head to Las Vegas to try to win money to pay the mortgage on their house. At first, they get $25,000 ahead -- but inevitably the house always wins, and they end up losing it all. While Diana is in the fancy casino boutique trying to lift some candy, she is spotted by billionaire John Gage (Robert Redford), who is immediately attracted to her. John invites Diana and David to an opulent party, and it is there that John offers David $1 million for a night with his wife. David is wracked by this moral dilemma, but Diana finally makes the decision on her own, with ensuing consequences for their ideal marriage and their bank account.And the what happen next ??????

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

One of the most entertaining morality plays

Author: Max Salvatore from Russian Federation
1 October 2008

INDECENT PROPOSAL, along with THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE (Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves) are two of the most entertaining morality plays out there. The moral to the story, without needing to go into Christian theology or anything else is really simple: there's no such thing as a free lunch. I remember when the movie was out in the theatres and the many sound bite talk show people would ask guests and people on the street if they would do what the couple Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson did in the film; so many fools said "yes, in a heartbeat" and I wondered about the education system of our country! The line of the stylish Robert Redford when Demi Moore accused him (while slowly being seduced by him) of being a man "who likes to own things" summed up the whole movie: "You think I need to BUY women?" Redford, a man in this movie who as a billionaire has seen and caused the birth and death of multi-national corporations the size of ancient civilizations, knew EXACTLY what would happen to their marriage, and to their mind- and to her heart, if they knowingly accepted this proposal most indecent. He depended on THEIR arrogance and scoffing at the fragile nature of human relationships and the invisible architecture of the human soul; knowing, like every man (and woman) with a secret plan for another human being, that that would bring about the predictable but unexpected chain of outer events. The movie's most poignant turn, however, is when he reveals the road not taken in HIS life, with all his billions, and how that has generated much of his actions. Only then do we really discover under no uncertain terms what he wants, and what he is willing to do to get it. That really begins the falling domino of epiphanies that leads to the revealing of the gentle, fragile and beautiful hearts of all three of the characters, and the transcendent power of love, commitment and surrender. It's a good guy/girl movie as well, because Woody Harrelson is so much the All-American man, full of rambunctious flaws and money problems (can't relate), where Robert Redford is, well, Robert Redford; he is the next best thing to Sean Connery's James Bond in this movie when it comes to the debonair, power- broker man the women couldn't resist if he had a 30k a year job, let alone making 30k every couple of hours. The testosterone is there. Combine that with the transformation of both of their characters because of the love of Demi Moore, who can play the dichotomous strong/weak women better than most of the Hollywood actresses out there still (if she would just take better scripts- aren't the bills paid sweetie?), and you've got more intelligent INNER action, romance and sympathy than you can shake a stick at. Worth owning. Ignore some of it's flaws (too miniscule to mention really; if you want CASABLANCA than buy that for Gawd sakes) and you'll have a great time with it- perhaps even learn something about yourself that you didn't know you knew.

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