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Damage (1992)

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A member of Parliament falls passionately in love with his son's fiancée despite the dangers of discovery.


Louis Malle


David Hare (screenplay), Josephine Hart (novel)
4,859 ( 2,369)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeremy Irons ... Dr. Stephen
Juliette Binoche ... Anna
Miranda Richardson ... Ingrid
Rupert Graves ... Martyn
Ian Bannen ... Edward
Peter Stormare ... Peter Wetzler
Gemma Clarke Gemma Clarke ... Sally
Julian Fellowes ... Donald Lyndsay
Leslie Caron ... Elizabeth
Tony Doyle ... Prime Minister
Ray Gravell Ray Gravell ... Raymond (as Raymond Gravell)
Susan Engel ... Miss Snow
David Thewlis ... Detective
Benjamin Whitrow ... Civil Servant
Jeff Nuttall Jeff Nuttall ... Trevor Leigh Davies MP


A member of Parliament (Irons) falls passionately in love with his son's fiancée. They pursue their affair with obsessive abandon despite the dangers of discovery and what it would do to his complacent life and his son. Completely obsessed, he wants to give up his current lifestyle to be with her. She has no intention of allowing him to do this, preferring to have her marriage to the son as a cover. They are eventually discovered, and must deal with the damage. Based on the novel by Josephine Hart. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


With love comes risk. With obsession comes... Damage. See more »


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexuality, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



UK | France


English | French | German | Italian

Release Date:

22 January 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fatale See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


First of two collaborations [to date, June 2015] of French actresses Leslie Caron and Juliette Binoche who would around eight years later both work on Lasse Hallström's Chocolat (2000). See more »


When Stephen is leaving Elizabeth to her hotel he is wearing a suit. When he requests the driver to stop and let him out of the car he is wearing an overcoat. See more »


Anna Barton: Fuck me.
See more »

Alternate Versions

USA version removed 1 minute of sexually-explicit footage in order to secure a R rating. European unrated version is available on video/laserdisc in USA. See more »


Remade as Irreparable Damage (1995) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Binoche is the ultimate home wrecker, and much more culpable than Irons
15 March 2001 | by djexplorerSee all my reviews

What I find interesting about the prior reviewer is that he could only comment upon the sleaziness of the Jeremy Irons characters. I fully expected to see that in most reviews. It is also most unbalanced, in the manner of the sex role ideologies of the 90's and the oughts.

For any not submerged in feminist victimization ideology, or an exaggerated gallantry, but who can view the situation with a modicum of gender neutrality, the Binoche character is far more culpable than the Irons character. She is no ingenue. Her character must be around 30, and a very worldly 30 plus at that (although she looks 35 plus) -- to his perhaps 45. She plots from moment one to seduce her boyfriend's father, not long after she has hooked up with the boyfriend. She does succeed soon enough, which does him no credit. But he believes she is just one more of a long line of his son's very temporary, and not particularly involved sexual relationships -- and he exudes an obviously sexual loneliness. The Irons and Binoche characters have a very torrid, and mildly S&M, relationship. All along he is obviously conflicted and very uncomfortable that she continue the relationship with both of them. Midway, he wants to leave his wife, make an honest (if marriage destroying) breast of it, and be with her alone. Binoche wants no such thing. She wants both father and son.

What is really maximally warped is Brioche's continued pursuit of the father after the son has proposed marriage, after she has accepted, and after Irons tells her with obvious anguish, but apparent sincerity, that he has decided that he has to break it off, and is breaking it off. It is not a mixed message. He even makes a non-revelatory, but symbolic and emotionally communicative visit to his son in his new, early achieved job as assistant political editor at a tony London newspaper. But Brioche relentlessly pursues him, and lures him back again -- while she is in the midst of planning the wedding.

Further, she spares not a single thought for his public career -- despite the fact that he is a British cabinet minister - or perhaps it is an assistant minister. (She works in a high end antiques establishment).

Sure, she has her troubled childhood history. But even there it isn't clear whether she is more victim, or manipulator. Certainly she was not the most ultimate victim earlier, either. As well, the Irons character, for all his public success, also obviously has emotional issues. They are familiar ones -- a reasonably pleasant, but passionless marriage, a midlife crisis, and a general sense, reflected by his children, that his greatest failing in life is not letting himself go more, not living with more passion. He at least makes some efforts to control himself, and to distance himself after her intentions to commit herself (at least publicly) to his son become clear -- while she does not -- at all.

He of course ends up far more damaged by her than the other way around. She it would seem entered damaged, and left with the pattern just more confirmed.

And yet as I expected, and have so far seen, the currently prevailing impulse is to almost exclusively blame the He -- regardless. Hogwash. Brioche is the ultimate home wrecker.

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