Fatal Attraction Review
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Some movies just aren’t all that memorable; others stick with you long after you leave the theater. Some are so clever that you continue to quote lines of their dialogue. Others touch your heart in a way you never forget. And others—like Fatal Attraction—are so tense and troubling that they haunt you for years.

Michael Douglas stars as Dan Gallagher, a New York City lawyer who’s stuck in a comfortable rut with his wife, Beth (Anne Archer), and their young daughter, Ellen (Ellen Hamilton Latzen). While Beth and Ellen are out of town one weekend, Dan finds himself dangerously close to Alex Forrest (Glenn Close), a mysterious and passionate woman who adds a little bit of excitement to his otherwise monotonous life.

At the end of his wild weekend affair with Alex, Dan is ready to return to his family. He even agrees to Beth’s dream of settling down and buying a house in the country. But Alex refuses to move on. It starts with a few phone calls and a visit to Dan’s office. Then she starts calling late at night, stalking his family, and threatening to tell Beth—and Dan suddenly finds himself backed into a corner.

  
 
Though it had been many, many years since I last saw director Adrian Lyne’s 1987 thriller, many of the scenes were still quite vivid in my memory as I sat down to watch it again. And, despite the fact that I was still quite young and impressionable at the time, I’m not even talking about the sex scenes. In fact, I’d all but forgotten about the film’s more explicit moments. What I remembered was Alex. How completely, disturbingly unhinged she becomes. That crazed look in her eyes. Her twisted techniques for getting Dan’s attention. And I can still hear my friend screaming at the top of her lungs during one particularly shocking scene near the end.

Now, all these years later, I can look at the film with a completely different perspective. That’s not to say that it doesn’t still leave me curled up in a ball, watching from between my fingers. It’s still every bit as disturbing and scary as it was before—despite the fact that I know what’s coming. In fact, maybe the fact that I know what’s coming only makes it scarier.

But Fatal Attraction is more than just another scary story. It’s also a fascinating film with a thought-provoking story that was carefully (and even artistically) crafted and expertly acted. Close’s performance is still as mesmerizing as it was all those years ago. But, now that I’m grown up and settled down, with a husband of my own, I can’t help but feel for Beth, the sweet, innocent, devoted wife whose husband’s indiscretion puts her family—and her life—at risk. And that makes the film even more horrifying.

Fatal Attraction is a chilling and suspenseful thriller—one that inspired all kinds of scary movie clichés. But it’s so much more than just a cheap scare or two. So if it’s been a while since you last saw it, it’s definitely worth another look.


Blu-ray Review:
If replaying an old favorite isn’t enough for you, the Blu-ray release of Adrian Lyne’s Fatal Attraction includes plenty of extras, too. In addition to the standard features—the trailer, the commentary with Lyne—the disc also includes Forever Fatal, a lengthy 2002 retrospective, in which the cast and crew discuss the process of making the film. They also discuss the film’s original ending—which, fortunately, is also included among the special features (with an introduction by Lyne). Other extras include rehearsal footage of Douglas and Close, a behind-the-scenes look at the crew’s efforts to capture Lyne’s vision for the film, and a feature that discusses the feminist backlash against the film.

If you’ve got time for just one feature after you finish watching the film, though, be sure to check out the original ending. It’s about 15 minutes long, but it’s worth a look—if only to contrast the director’s vision with what audiences wanted. (Hint: they’re very, very different.)

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