Connie Sumner has a loving husband, a beautiful home, and a wonderful son, but she wants more. When she's approached one day by a handsome stranger while trying to hail a taxi, she becomes obsessed with him and eventually starts an affair. But her selfish actions soon catch up with her...Written by
In the "Full Screen Special Edition" love scene at approximately 55 minutes, Ms. Lane's breasts are fully exposed very briefly before being cupped by Martinez's hands from behind. The wide screen version chops off the bottom of the frame thereby removing the full exposure. See more »
Every now and then, I read a review of a film which is so drastically different to my own reaction to it that I wonder if we have watched the same film. This is the case for almost EVERY review of "Unfaithful". Aside from the occasional positive comment that I have read by other IMDB users, and the glowing review given by Margaret Pommeranz on the (Australian) "Movie Show" (four and a half stars, if I remember correctly), this film seems to have met with either negative or ambivalent reactions from everyone. And this surprises me immensely, because I was overwhelmed by it. I expected quite a good, slightly arty film with good performances (particularly from Diane Lane, who really impressed me in Coppola's "The Cotton Club"). What I got was a film which I think will be one of my favourites for many years to come.
The criticisms that I have read of "Unfaithful" don't confuse me because they disagree with me. I can accept that - no really, I can, although I don't see how anyone could miss the brilliant acting (one user comment said that any Hollywood actress could have done Diane Lane's performance - well, I DO look forward to the J.Lo remake in a few years), or the amazing photography, this being one of the most lush and seductive films I have seen in a long time. It's the way in which the reviewers have seemingly missed the entire point of the film, or fell asleep half-way through it.
Firstly, I will concede that Connie's motivations were unclear (although I'd call it subtlety, rather than poor scripting), but they weren't as unclear as many people would have you believe. Nor did Lyne simplify the relationship between Connie and Paul (someone called him Marcel - perhaps they DID watch another movie, or just couldn't spell his surname) - in fact, I would suggest that anyone who thought Connie was willing to sleep with the first guy she met would do well to rewatch this film and see the way that her mind works (or do you need a voice-over narration in addition to Lane's phenomenal performance?). In addition to this, I have read complaints about nudity (because apparently has no place in an erotic drama/thriller), technical problems (the reviewer who mentioned this loved the movie, but had issues with constant shots of the entire microphone, shots which he/she found very hard to ignore, but which I managed to miss completely) and the apparently "cliched" narrative. In response to the latter, I don't want to give anything away, but this film, although addressing a common topic (ie. adultery), is by no means a traditional Hollywood film, and certainly doesn't treat the topic in the same way that every other film has. Many may find the ending unfulfilling, but I can't comprehend the idea of it being cloying and unoriginal. And even if the narrative itself is conventional, the way in which it is handled by cast, director and technical crew (if you can forgive the microphone shots, I suppose) puts it so far above any of its counterparts as to warrant a much warmer reception than it seems to have been given.
Diane Lane deserved the Oscar for this, without question. Unfortunately, her film came in a year when every single Best Actress nominee was of nearly equal quality. As you can see, I liked it - and wish that more people felt the same way about it. The only suggestion I can offer is that, if you have yet to see it, then don't go into it expecting a standard thriller - in fact, it can be quite slow-moving at times. But let it be what it is, because it does a damn good job at that.
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