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"Faithful" is a worth-watching film, somewhere between comedy and drama, but not tragicomedy. It stars Cher as a rich but rejected wife who wants to take her life on her 20th anniversary. But then a hitman hired by her husband gets into her house. He ties her to a chair and they start to talk - as it's an adaption of a play - and slowly Cher's wish to live on is growing. The dialogue is quite spirited and also funny, you shouldn't miss it. And it's pretty cool when the hitman is making phone-calls to his psychiatrist and vice versa, again and again. You have to enjoy this, it's almost 'tarantinoesque', but better, because there is no celebration of violence here. Nevertheless, in the end it gets kind of disturbing and boring. Now the movie finally suffers from the fact that basically only three actors are involved. Cher's acting is very good in the beginning, her facial acting is fabulous when portraying the desperate woman meeting her killer. But from the moment when her husband (Ryan O'Neal) returns, her character is much less convincing and her face of vivid emotion turns a face of a pale mask of make-up, which - forgive me - she may think makes her look one or two decades younger. Now my vote: 7 out of 10!
*** (out of 4)
Jack (Ryan O'Neil) is a lying, cheating husband who is having an affair with his 24-year-old secretary while his wife Margaret (Cher) sits at home living in a state of depression wondering what has gone wrong with her life. Margaret has all the money in the world but this isn't enough because she missing the touch of her husband plus she's too scared to leave him even though she knows he's cheating on her. With their twentieth anniversary here Margaret decides to make a change.
Before any change can take place, Jack (Chazz Palminteri), a Mafia hit man enters the house at gunpoint and tells the wife that she's going to die. Jack ties Margaret to a chair and tells her that he's waiting for the phone to ring twice, which is the signal from her husband that he's got an alibi and that the killing can take place. While waiting for the phone call Jack and Margaret begin talking and Jack is shocked to learn that the change the wife was going to do was kill herself. When Jack hears this he realizes that he has saved her life and the two also begin to realize that they have more in common than Margaret ever did with her husband.
Faithful was released to limited theaters back in 1996 and died a quick death without much buzz around the film. The box office take was small and there wasn't too much critical talk about the film but to me this is a very underrated art film with some very deep drama and a twisted sense of black humor, which sadly tried to be sold to the public as some sort of lighthearted comedy. This is the type of film that's about nothing at all. There's not too much going on throughout the film except for the appeal of its cast and the dialogue being spoken by them.
When I said the film was about nothing that's the honest truth because there isn't a single thing that happens in the film. We are given a setup but a minute later we know there's not going to be anything bad that happens. We can see it in the characters and we can see the silly setup and while we're expecting something funny to happen the screenplay by Palminteri takes a different approach and goes for some heavy handled drama, which seems out of place yet the actors are so convincing that we are brought deeper into the situation. This story was originally a stage play by Palminteri and while it doesn't translate too well to the screen there's still plenty to enjoy here.
Cher has always been a reliable actress and she does a wonderful job here in a demanding role that takes her from a suicidal case to an overly powerful and vengeful wife seeking answers in her life. The suicide part of the performance is done without words and we can just look at her eyes and see how she's feeling and know exactly why she's feeling it. At the end of the film Cher confronts her cheating husband and while this could have gone over the top, Cher's performance is so compelling that everything comes off believable and makes up from the heavy drama earlier in the film. Ryan O'Neil has never been an actor I've overly enjoyed but he's also very nice here. Chazz Palminteri on the other hand is one of my favorite character actors who has proved himself in Robert DeNiro's A Bronx Tale as well as Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway. His thick New York accent and mobster like personality is very charming and his dramatic turn here comes off wonderfully well.
I think Faithful has been forgotten because it's not really a film with any sort of payoff. There's never any suspense that someone is going to get killed and there's not enough laughs to keep a mainstream audience interested. Instead we are given a dialogue driven film with two depressed people and an adulterous husband who tries to have his wife killed. I think the film could have used a bit more comedy and the stuff with Palminteri's shrink never really works. This is the type of film that when it's over the viewer will probably ask themselves what was the point of the film. There isn't a point to the movie. Instead, we're given wonderful dialogue and three wonderful performances making the situation more interesting than it should be.
Ok, so it's not an action packed thriller, but if you're in the mood to
laugh, it's a great movie. Cher's acting was wonderful when you consider
the fact that it was mainly just her and Chazz Palminteri for the majority
of the movie. I personally thought that Chazz's acting was excellent. I
mean, he wrote the movie AND was the main character. To me that seems like
it would take a lot of talent which he obviously has to accomplish such a
thing. I've heard some people say that they were disappointed at the fact
that Chazz played his normal mobster character. In my opinion, his best
rolls are when he plays a hitman, mobster, etc, because you know he's
Italian, and makes a great tuff guy, even though in reality I bet he's
probably really sweet. Another comment I've heard is that it was boring.
If you thought it was boring, see it again because you didn't understand it.
Keep in mind that the strength of this movie is the witty dialogue BECAUSE
it was based on a play and BECAUSE it was a play/movie that was from the
perspective of a cheated housewife held captive. What did you expect?
I have to admit, I enjoyed this movie tremendously when I watched it
alone, and later when a group of friends watched it in my house I was
embarrassed by how much they hated it. You have to be in the mood for
Cher must be commended, to carry off a movie when you spend exactly half of your screen time tied to a chair is pretty remarkable. The interplay between Tony and Margaret is much better when it is just the two of them, Ryan O'Neal doesn't bring much of anything to his part and the film declines somewhat when he enters the home.
The only real annoyance is the HORRIFIC injections of Mazurski as some kind of freak shrink that is supposed to be funny; it may well be the single unfunniest and most unnecessary character in the history of film. You could totally fast forward through every second Masurski is on the screen and it would only improve the film.
I think women will like this a lot better than men, but it's a good film and very underrated. For most of 1996 it was my favorite film.
This was better than I expected. Chazz Palminteri plays a hit man set to
kill Cher, and who was sent by her husband, played by Ryan O'Neal. But
once Chazz starts to talk to her, they seem to have this snappy discourse.
(He can't just kill her - he's waiting for a phone call from the husband.)
This isn't more than a nice-looking play (great house in Harrison, NY),
it's not suspenseful at all, but Palminteri's charm carries it
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I do not understand why this movie is rated so low, and that so many people did not like it. But I guess you have to be in the right state of mind to see it. The premise is that after 20 years of marriage a lonely and depressed housewife, Margaret, and played by Cher, has had it, and rather than confront her hubby, decides to end her life. But before she can down the pills a hit-man, Tony, played by Palminteri, breaks in and ties her to a chair. I thought the dialogue between the two was witty, and the chemistry between Cher and Palminteri was great. They played off each other wonderfully. I also liked the parts with Tony's shrink. Absolutely hilarious. The low points were when O'Neal was around, but thankfully those were few, and when he was in a scene he did not do much more than stand there. Not a lot of dialogue out of him, which worked. There are a lot of movies made from plays, as this one is, and though some do not work out too well, this one worked, since we got more to see in a film than we would have from a play (visually). Not that it was needed. A few outside shots of how opulent Margaret lived, and that scene in the beginning with the Rolls, and that's all we needed. Check it out.
I came across this movie on late night TV with no previous knowledge of the movie not knowing any of the cast and was pleasantly surprised. Do not get me wrong this in not a great movie but it is certainly a lot better than the usual late night moves we find on terrestrial TV her in the UK. As I learnt from the opening credits that this was adapted from a play by the co-lead Chazz Palminteri and it really shows with the vast majority of the movie being set in the one location the house of the female lead Margaret (played by Cher whom normally really grates me by in this is not to bad, though she has had so much plastic surgery she does look like an extra from 'The Dark Crystal). The premise is of Tony a hit-man being sent by Margaret's husband to kill her, but this turns into a wiseguy farce with lots or role reversals especially with the re-appearance of the husband Jack (a slimy Ryon O'Neil). The direction really is point the camera and the set and shoot adding to the theatre feeling but considering there are pretty much only three characters on screen most of the time we get some decent chemistry between them and a not totally predictable outcomes. I would not go out of my way to see this again but would not avoid it on a bored afternoon trapped in some hotel or another.
Comcast cable gave "Faithful" just 2 stars, so I wasn't sure I wanted
to see it. But I love films Cher has starred in, so I watched it not
expecting too much. It's a small but delightful film about the
interaction of a woman and the hit-man hired to kill her.
Maggie (Cher) is an extremely wealthy housewife. She drives a Rolls, and lives in a modern mansion that seems large enough to house a hotel or resort. But she is depressed. Her husband of 20 years, Jack (Ryan O'Neal), has been neglecting her. They haven't had sex for months and she is sure he is having an affair. A hit-man, Tony (Chazz Palminteri), sneaks into her house and ties her to a chair. He explains that her husband hired him to kill her, but he has to wait until the husband signals (by phoning and hanging up after two rings) that he has reached his alibi location.
While waiting, Maggie tries to convince Tony to work for her instead of her husband. Tony becomes distressed and calls his psychotherapist, Dr. Susskind (Paul Mazursky, who also was the film's Director).
While this does not sound like a comedy, in what drama does a hit-man call his therapist during a job? Besides, there is the anticipation that Maggy will come out on top. She is Cher after-all!
Chazz Palminteri is excellent as the troubled hit-man. He also wrote the play the film is based on, and wrote the screenplay. Robert De Niro is listed as the Producer.
There are some minor problems that I didn't think about until writing this review. They don't really matter:
1. Maggie considers herself a housewife. But how does she spend her days? Wouldn't such a person have a circle of girlfriends who discuss each others family problems?
2. Shouldn't such a large home have a staff to run it? It has an elaborate security system but no staff to respond to intrusions? A cook? A maid to keep the many rooms clean? 3. Cher's acting seemed to me to somehow to be a little off, as if she didn't put her full effort into it. In other films she has been a superb actress.
The film was adapted from a play, so it is not surprising that nearly all the scenes are in the mansion.
Anemic comedy-drama, an unhappy, seemingly rushed affair featuring Cher as a woebegone housewife who slowly makes friends with the hit-man who's been hired to kill her by her husband. Chazz Palminteri, as the talkative hired gun, adapted the screenplay from his own play, with stagy set-ups and back-and-forth dialogue that quickly tires the eye and ear. An air of gloom hangs over the entire project, and director Paul Mazursky can't get Cher out of her perpetual funk (she's listless). Despite all the top talent (including Robert De Niro as one of the producers), "Faithful" is fraudulent, with no substance to the story and characters who rarely come to life. *1/2 from ****
The first time I saw it, I hated it. With a passion. Don't know why- I've loved everything else Cher had done. It didn't click for some reason. Then I watched it some time later and WHAM, I got it... going thru the same thing myself (except the hitman part). I found myself laughing and crying, and rooting Cher's wonderfully angry and hostile dialog. (I think she let Ryan off too easy...) The whole first half is a setup for the last half, when her husband Jack (Ryan O'Neil) comes home. Then the poo REALLY hits the proverbial whirling blades. She lets him have it, takes it all back, and gives it to him again. Harder. (Considering how I felt when I went thru a similar situation, he STILL got off way too easy!) I would very much recommend this movie- especially if your boyfriend or girlfriend has had an affair and you are still bitter- it's very cathartic. And it's still free! (Okay- the rental isn't- but it's a funny line in the movie...)
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