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Several films portraying characters either explicitly diagnosed or with traits strongly suggestive of mental illness have been the subject of discussion by certain psychiatrists and film experts. They can be used as a training material to improve understanding and recognizing this disorder and they help deeper correlate the descriptions in books and articles to the actual case you deal with. Consider them as a valuable educational material.
The films Play Misty for Me and Fatal Attraction are two classic films depicting BPD, as is the memoir Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen (and the movie based on it, with Winona Ryder as Kaysen). Each of these films highlight the emotional instability of a person with such a disorder; however, the first two movies show a person more aggressive to others than to herself, which in fact is less typical.
The 1992 film Single White Female suggests different aspects of the disorder: the character Hedy suffers from a markedly disturbed sense of identity and, as with the first two films, abandonment leads to drastic measures.
The character of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader in the Star Wars films has been "diagnosed" as having BPD. Psychiatrists Eric Bui and Rachel Rodgers have argued that the character meets six of the nine diagnostic criteria; Bui also found Anakin a useful example to explain BPD to medical students. In particular, Bui points to the character's abandonment issues, uncertainty over his identity and violent dissociative episodes.
The film Borderline, based on the book of the same name by Marie-Sissi Labrèche, attempts to explore BPD through its main character, Kiki.
Among other films that might deserve your attention we can mention
This film Fatal Attraction depicts a strong career woman Alex (played by Glenn Close ) who is at the same time psychopathic. The plot is trial -- it is about adultery, but there is a twist in it which makes is valuable for all who are interested in female sociopath topics. Happily married New York lawyer Dan Callagher is not satisfied with his family life and when he has a chance as it was raining after his Saturday office meeting and his new acquaintance took him under her umbrella, he decided to have an affair with this woman. It's pretty educational to watch the Douglas character's psychological panic as movie progresses...
Notice Glenn Close' envy. She's envious. Jealous at her target's perfect family. Also notice that the more Michael Douglas rejects Glenn Close the more she stalks him. She can't handle being rejected. She becomes an obsessed, vindictive, completely out-of-control, raging nightmare. (By the way, I have never had any personal experience with a single-stalker. Only gang stalking. And gang stalking is a lot more subtle, insidious and scheming).
The film has also profound effect on men. Close who play the central heroine of the film was quoted in 2008 as saying, "Men still come up to me and say, 'You scared the shit out of me.' Sometimes they say, 'You saved my marriage.'"
Fatal Attraction is a 1987 American psychological thriller film directed by Adrian Lyne and starring Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, and Anne Archer. The film centers on a married Manhattan man who has a weekend affair with a woman who refuses to allow it to end, resulting in her becoming obsessed with him. The film was adapted by James Dearden from an earlier 1980 short film by Dearden for British television, Diversion.
He previously met her only once -- at the party, so their meeting during Saturday special meeting at the office was the second one. As usually he does not suspect that the woman he had chosen for his amorous adventures is sociopath and that it's he who will be hunted. Can be used as educational material. Please watch several time the one-on-one dinner scene early on in the movie where Dan tells Alex that his wife is out of town -- Close is brilliant is her acting as a calculating and attractive female sociopath. This scheme is so educational that probably should be included in any book describing female sociopaths. Here is "hunting" instincts of sociopath and her ability to adapt and present herself as an attractive pray (while in reality she is the hunter) are demonstrated incredibly well. Almost on the level of Dangerous Liaisons
Alex, and the two enjoy a love weekend while Dan's wife and kid are away. But Alex will not let go of him, and she will stop at nothing to have him for herself.
Dan stays on a second unplanned evening with Alex in which she persistently asked him over. When Dan tries to leave, she cuts her wrists in a suicide attempt. He helps her to bandage them and later leaves. He thinks the affair is forgotten, but she shows up at various places to see him. She waits at his office one day to apologize and invites him to a performance of Madame Butterfly, but he politely turns her down. She then continues to telephone until he tells his secretary that he will no longer take her calls. She then phones his home at all hours, and then confronts him claiming that she is pregnant and plans to keep the baby. Although he wants nothing to do with her, she argues that he must take responsibility. She shows up at his apartment (which is for sale) and meets Beth, feigning interest as a buyer. Later that night, he goes to her apartment to confront her, which results in a violent scuffle. In response, she replies that she will not be ignored.
Dan moves his family to Bedford, but this does not deter Alex. She has a tape recording delivered to him filled with verbal abuse. She stalks him in a parking garage, pours acid on his car, and follows him home one night to spy on him, Beth, and Ellen from the bushes in their yard; the sight of their family life literally makes her sick to her stomach. Her obsession escalates further. Dan approaches the police to apply for a restraining order against her (claiming that it is "for a client"), to which the lieutenant claims that he cannot violate her rights without probable cause, and that the "client" has to own up to his adultery.
At one point, while the Gallaghers are not home, Alex kills Ellen's pet rabbit, and puts it on their stove to boil. After this, Dan tells Beth of the affair and Alex's supposed pregnancy. Enraged, she demands him to leave. Before he goes, Dan calls Alex to tell her that Beth knows about the affair. Beth gets on the phone and warns Alex that if she persists, she (Beth) will kill her. Without Dan and Beth's knowledge, Alex picks up Ellen at school and takes her to an amusement park, buying her ice cream and taking her on a roller coaster. Beth panics when she realizes that she does not know where Ellen is. She drives around frantically searching and rear-ends a car stopped at an intersection. She is injured and hospitalized. Alex later takes Ellen home, asking her for a kiss on the cheek. Following Beth's release from the hospital, she forgives Dan and they return home.
Dan barges into Alex's apartment and attacks her, choking her and coming close to strangling her. He stops himself, but as he does, she lunges at him with a kitchen knife. He overpowers her, but puts the knife down and leaves, with Alex leaning against the kitchen counter, smiling. He approaches the police about having her arrested, and they start searching for her.
Beth prepares a bath for herself and Alex suddenly appears, again with the kitchen knife. She starts to explain her resentment of Beth, nervously fidgeting (which causes her to cut her own leg) and then attacks her. Dan hears the screaming, runs in, wrestles Alex into the bathtub, and seemingly drowns her. She suddenly emerges from the water, swinging the knife. Beth, who went searching for Dan's gun, shoots her in the chest, killing her. The final scene shows police cars outside the Gallaghers' house. As Dan finishes talking with the police, he walks inside, where Beth is waiting for him. They embrace and proceed upstairs as the camera focuses on a picture of them and Ellen.Alternate ending
Alex Forrest was originally scripted to commit suicide at the film's end by slashing her throat with the knife Dan had left on the counter, so as to make it appear that Dan had murdered her. After seeing her husband being taken away by police, Beth finds a revealing cassette tape that Alex sent Dan in which she threatened to commit suicide. Upon realizing Alex's intentions, Beth takes the tape to the police, which acquits Dan of the murder. The last scene shows, in flashback, Alex committing suicide by slashing her throat while listening to Madame Butterfly.
This resulted in a three-week reshoot for the action-filled sequence in the bathroom and Alex's death by gunshot. Her shooting by Beth juxtaposes the two characters, with Alex becoming the victim and Beth taking violent action to protect her family.
In the 2002 Special Edition DVD, Close comments that she had doubts re-shooting the film's ending, because she believed the character would "self-destruct and commit suicide". However, Close gave in on her concerns, and filmed the new sequence after having fought against the change for two weeks. The film was initially released in Japan with the original ending. The original ending also appeared on a special edition VHS and LaserDisc release by Paramount in 1992, and was included on the film's DVD release a decade later.
By K. Tolbert on September 20, 2002
Drew Barrymore's performance as an overprotected, free spirit tortured by mental illness is very real. As her character unfolded, I completely recognized myself prior to my bipolar diagnosis.
I watched the beautiful, young Casey (Barrymore) teeter between mania and depression.
I watched her hurt the people who loved her most. I watched her ruin her life. It was difficult for me to watch this movie, but I highly recommend it to anyone affected by bipolar disorder, whether yourself or someone you love.
Zack H., July 22, 2005An underrated gem!
This film is about a high schooler named Matt (Chris O'Donnell) who has a crush on free spirited Casey (Drew Barrymore), so he finally gets the guts to ask her out, and they go to a punk rock concert together. They start to really like each other, and become boyfriend and girlfriend. One night, Matt sees Casey fighting with her parents, and she tells Matt that her father thinks Matt is a bad influence and that her father doesn't want Matt to see her anymore. Sooner or later, Matt hears that Casey has been put in the hospital, due to the fact that she tried to commit suicide by taking sleeping pills. Matt helps her escape, and the two lovebirds take a road trip against parental wishes. Along their way to Mexico, they encounter a sellsman who tries to hit on Casey, and Casey begins to experience depression episodes again. Matt learns that Casey is Bi-Polar, and he tries to comfort her the only way he knows how. He decides his only option is to get her help, so he decides to call her parents. She attempts to commit suicide again, telling Matt that she doesn't want to be sick anymore and that she doesn't want to be locked up. Matt talks her out of it, and they return home, so that Casey can recieve medical treatment. This film may or may not sound interesting, but it's a great film nevertheless. Drew Barrymore and Chris O'Donnell give excellent performances. Recommended.
J. Marren VINE VOICE on April 20, 2007
This grim drama of sexual manipulation is a story where almost everyone is a victim.
- Judi Dench (Barbara) plays the chilling role of the lonely spinster teacher who befriends young women with the goal of possessing them.
- Cate Blanchett (Sheba) is a dreamy, artistic young mother, who, after years of caring for a Down's Syndrome son, goes back to work as an art teacher at a rough London school.
Barbara trains her sights on Sheba as she struggles with the chaos in the school and helps her out, but then discovers a secret to hold over her.
Judi Dench manages to portray a woman who is despicable and pitiable at the same time, while Blanchett draws on our sympathy despite unforgivable transgressions.
The themes are very disturbing, and there's no happy ending -- Barbara moves on while the other characters pick up the pieces. Blanchett's young art student may be the only one to emerge unscathed--but I won't say more.
This film is most definitely for adults only, and some will be offended by the subject matter. But Dench gives a magnificent performance, as always.
Bookphile on December 23, 2007
This is yet another example of fine British cinema. What makes it so singular for an American like me is this is a movie that centers around two women, where said two women have most of the screen time, and where the male characters are secondary. It proves in a most masterful way that movies about women can be complex, interesting, and every bit as compelling as movies that center around male characters. And with two such stellar actresses as Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett, how could the moviegoer go wrong?
This movie is a really wonderful and intricate character study. Though Blanchett's character sounds like she should be the villain, having violated one of the most sacred trusts the public places in its schools, Dench's character is no less menacing. What is truly astonishing about this film is how Blanchett's character comes out as more sympathetic in the end.
What Sheba does is abhorrent but it is also horrifying to watch how Barbara tries her best to catch Sheba in her net. Though Sheba's actions are morally repugnant, she is not without a conscience and she knows that what she has done is wrong and that it will tear her family, her school, and her young lover's life apart.
Barbara, on the other hand, is a textbook sociopath. Though initially enraged over discovering Sheba's affair, she decides to use it to her advantage so that she can back Sheba into a corner. Barbara doesn't care about the student and she doesn't really care about Sheba either. All she cares about is winning her prize. She is a ruthless predator.
Blanchett is fantastic as Sheba. She makes the character three dimensional so that the viewer can understand what has driven her to commit such a heinous act, though her reasons for it do not in any way excuse her actions. Still, it is really an experience to watch a film and see a villain who is multi-faceted and who reminds the viewer that all humans are fallible. She is a woman with a sickness, a woman who is deeply disturbed and who sets into motion a chain of events that she hasn't the least idea how to stop. Watching her life unravel is visceral and though she deserves to be punished it is still alarming to watch her walk right into the trap Barbara has set for her.
As for Dench, she is simply incomparable. Barbara is completely without feelings for anyone other than herself and she is incapable of understanding the pain of others. She is like a spider, slowly spinning her web and waiting patiently for her victims to become entrapped within her threads. Every scene that she is in is filled with such creepiness that it sends a shiver down the spine of the viewer. What is worse, she has established a pattern of behavior and suffers no consequences because of it. In this way, the film poses another interesting moral question.
That people like Barbara exist is undeniable and that they get away with their actions goes without saying. While society certainly needs to protect itself from those whose crimes are transparent, what about those of someone like Barbara, who quietly set about destroying the lives of others.
Hollywood needs to take a hint from British cinema. If you take a strong story with interesting characters and cast formidable actors in the lead roles, people will not only see the movie, they will absorb it. Since this film is entirely devoid of explosions and high-speed chases, however, I will assume that Hollywood won't be emulating it any time soon. In that case, I will continue to look to the British filmmakers.
Jay Dickson on April 20, 2007
The Top of Their GameFor all it is an entry into the "girlfriend/ temp/ babysitter/ boyfriend/ roommate/ etc. from hell" films of the late 80s and early 90s (such as FATAL ATTRACTION, THE TEMP, SINGLE WHITE FEMALE, FEAR), NOTES ON A SCANDAL is still a terrific and excitingly paced melodrama showing two splendid actresses--Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett--at their absolute best.
Dench is a fire-breathing older woman teaching history in a London public school who has a hidden history of stalking and erotomania; Blanchett is the new art teacher, unable to handle a classroom, escaping from her incredible family demands (including a son with Down's syndrome) who befriends Dench and starts having an affair with a manipulative 15 year-old student.
When Dench develops an obsession with Blanchett, and discovers the affair, the sparks really fly, and the movie builds at an even more breathtaking pace. There's not much point to the film (other than that all single people in the film seem determine to wreck Blanchett's marriage), but who cares when you can see two actresses as fine as Dench and Blanchett work so splendidly.
Dench has a role here perfectly within her range as the rebarbarative and covetous Barbara Covett; Blanchett (as always) seems like you've never seen her before, this time as Bathsheba Hart, Covett's beautiful prey. The overdramatic score by Philip Glass is less obstrusive than it might have been given the tremendous scale of these two actresses' performances.
Jordan Scott, niece of director Tony Scott who with his brother Ridley Scott serve a executive producers of this film, makes and impressive debut as a director/writer (with Ben Court and Caroline Ip) in this intensely interesting and well crafted adaptation of Sheila Kohler's novel CRACKS.
This is a period piece (1934) that takes place in St. Mathilda's School in Stanley Island, England, an isolated all girl British boarding school. The mood is one of gothic evil where rich young girls participate in the cloistered rigid education imposed by the matrons of the school -Miss Nieven (Sinéad Cusack), Matron (Helen Norton), and Miss Lacey (Deirdre Donnelly) - whose chief concern is to guard the reputation of the school at all costs, and lightened only by the presence of the swimming/diving coach Miss G (Eva Green) whom the girls admire for her exotic beauty, worldliness, supposed travel around the world, and her possessiveness of her brood.
One of the girls, Di (Juno Temple in a brilliant performance), is the team captain and the apparent favorite of Miss G - until the sudden arrival of a beautiful Spanish girl Fiamma (María Valverde) who tends to set herself apart form the rest of the claque (Di, Poppy (Imogen Poots), Lily (Ellie Nunn), Fuzzy (Clemmie Dugdale), Laurel (Adele McCann) and Rosie (Zoë Carroll).
Fiamma is an expert diver and her gifts as a sportsman as well as her beauty attract Miss G, replacing Di as her favorite. In jealous rage Di gathers the claque and plans the exit of this unwanted intruder. How this backfires and increases Miss G's attraction to Fiamma leads down another path of evil that pulls this little tale of terror to a surprising end.
Eva Green manages to make Miss G a fascinating character and her gradual obsession with Fiamma and the direction that takes her is a very fine performance. But the entire cast - girls and teachers - is superb, especially Juno Temple in a career making role. The cinematography by John Mathieson finds both the haunting beauty of the isolated St. Mathilde's School and the splendid panoramas of nature add immeasurably to the film as does the musical score by Javier Navarette - a score that combines Anglican hymns with gentle piano music. This is a triumph for all concerned and bodes well for the career of Jordan Scott. Grady Harp, October 11
- basically, a wealthy lawyer father with a mentally ill wife and three grown children, divorces the wife and remarries a healthy, robust widow. the mother continues to shatter and the three daughters try to find their own lives apart from their parents' lifelong unhappiness.
there are many great performances in this ensemble piece but the world class one is geraldine page's as the shattered ex wife. she is magnificent. she is completely unsympathetic and your most constant wish for her is that she just die. every detail about her is perfectly rendered. her entire life is minimalist elegance. her only real interest is interior decor but all she can make is one cold, austere room after another. she constantly redoes rooms because she is never satisfied with them. she obsesses about the tiniest details such as the palest and slenderest of vases, the exact right stripping of the hardwood floors, small white lamps by which one can barely see, and an appearance all in black or monotones with hair scraped back into the tighest twist. she is ugly in so many ways as she tries to find beauty and art with paintings which are empty of content.
Thanx to Jim Carrey's funny guy professionalism this flick can raise some interests from funny audiences. I 1st thought the movie was strange and scary when i was a kid. But now? I don't consider it to be THAT scary but still strange.
I mean it's scary to know that YOU know a spychotic man (even though u don't have any idea about it at 1st) doing whatever it takes and i mean WHATEVER I TAKES to be a friend and if u don't agree to an alliance with him and only him or else he'll become like a plague or something and haunt u, even in your dreams, lol. It's spooky. That's probably worst than a stalker=) ...I give this flick 3 stars be cause Jim DID kinda saved the movie especially when he battled mathew on a medieval times 'play for fun' fight.
The film by itself is an intriguing proposal about what if you make a decision instead another one. So, when you decide to make a decision a set of unchained events will undertake, but perhaps they are very related. Reality or existential fiction. In last instance, the destiny is the way you live.
Of course, there have been many others related films, in which "The butterfly effect" the randomness and the destiny's trickeries are extremely united. A man close to death ponders the many lives he might have led in this fantasy from director and screenwriter Jaco van Dormael. 117-year-old Nemo Nobody (Jared Leto) is ill and facing his last days as he looks back on his past and a particular crucial moment -- at the age of nine, Nemo's parents divorced, and as his mother (Natasha Little) and father (Rhys Ifans) stood on a train platform, he had to choose who he would go with, and whether he would live in the United States or Great Britain.
Either choice would bring with it a wide variety of possibilities regarding the sort of life he would lead, and Nemo imagines nearly all of them, including two different wives -- sweet but emotionally blank Jeanne (Linh-Dan Pham) and lovely but troubled Elise (Sarah Polley) -- and another woman, Anna (Diane Kruger), whom he loves but can not marry.
But as Nemo considers the many different paths his life could have taken, his memory begins to fail him, and he finds it increasingly difficult to be certain which was his real life and which is a product of his imagination.
Mr. Nobody also stars Thomas Byrne as nine-year-old Nemo and Toby Regbo as Nemo in his teenage years.
By Grady Harp on October 19, 2005Format: DVD
David Cronenberg takes chances and his pushing the edge of cinematic
art is what makes his films so interesting. JG Ballard's controversial novel CRASH seemed an unlikely
prospect for a film, so dark were its explorations of the outer zones of excitation and their
relationship to near-death events. But Cronenberg worked through making Ballard's visions visual
and his screenplay based on Ballard's book is more about interior dialogue and visceral sexual
encounters as they relate to trauma.
James Ballard (James Spader) is a successful TV director who spends as much time as a lothario as he does making film. He is married to Catherine (Deborah Kara Unger) whose own sexuality leads her into stray paths. The two seem to connect physically but the fire is diminishing: they both concur that encounters with other partners enhance their sexual experiences.
James is in a car accident and survives with a broken leg and scars,
but the other car's male driver was killed and his surviving female companion Helen Remington
(Holly Hunter) is hospitalized with James. While in the hospital both encounter a strange, scarred,
limping male photographer Vaughn (Elias Koteas) who takes photos of the scars and trauma results
of both James and Helen. Catherine visits James in the hospital and seems to find excitement in
the scars and orthopedic paraphernalia binding her husband.
Once James is released from the hospital he is strangely drawn to the car he wrecked and finds Helen in the same mindset. The two move into physical attraction as well as an emotional attraction to Vaughn. Vaughn is obsessed with auto accidents, having been in many, and he stages famous car accidents (James Dean, Jayne Mansfield, etc) for a captive audience - which includes James, Helen, and Catherine.Read more ›
Genuinely erotic and disturbing
The characters are thin, but that's the only minus point in an otherwise disturbing ride. Some of the scenes are genuinely erotic - rare for a movie which claims to be an "erotic thriller". The tension runs right to the end, and Molly Ringwald is surprisingly sexy. Her sultry character contrasts perfectly with the girl next door character of the hero's girlfriend, leading to a darkly sensual confrontation as Ringwald traps the girlfriend in a deserted house....
Molly Ringwald, as you only imagined her
If, as a teenager, you sat through countless John Hughes films hoping that this would be the movie that would find Molly Ringwald going topless, this is the film for you! Sorry for being sexist, but the sight of Molly Ringwald's breasts are pretty much all this film promises. The plot -- a Fatal Attraction rip-off -- is obvious, the ending predictable, and the acting is pretty much second-rate except for Ringwald who reveals a zest for over-the-top villainy and, in her earlier scenes, actually does manage to bring some sympathy to her spurned woman.
Still, the film is mostly a tease that lures its male viewers along with the promise of showing us what we were fantasizing about during the Breakfast Club.
It must be said that when they finally do make their debut, Molly's breasts are not a disappointment -- even if the rest of the film is.
Still, its hard to get over the fact that this is the quissential '80s teenager -- the star of 16 Candles, the girl who helped make "Are you a virgin, Clare?" a pop cultural catch phrase -- wandering around topless and engaging in soft-core sex. Its one of those weird, pop moments that pretty much distances the viewer from the film (so much as it is). But that curiosity valure pretty much gives the movie whatever worth it might have. Brat Pack indeed! (Yeah, I know that last comment doesn't make any sense but how could anyone review this film without a pointless Brat Pack comment?)
THE PSYCHOPATH TEST by Jon Ronson Mr Invincible - the invisible psychopaths amongst us - YouTube 12 Deeply Disturbed Female Film Characters Amazon videos The Professional Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman, Danny Aiello Amazon Digital Services LLC
A CustomerThis Ain't Fiction By on March 31, 2004
I always thought this film was totally unrealistic, just WAY too over the top in its presentation of the Alex Forrest character. Her initial little quirks, her escalating manipulation, her ultimate eruption into wholesale psychosis -- I lalways thought, "Oh pshaw, this is a cartoon! This is a movie-writer's concoction!"
And then: It happened to me (though not exactly the same circumstances... we both were single). I met a genuine borderline personality disorder, and that person behaved EXACTLY like Alex Forrest (though stopping short of rabbit boiling and knife violence). I watched the film again later, and was astounded at how well the details of borderline personality disorder were captured, the self-delusion, the emotional coercion, the complete disintegration of logic and final loss of control.
This is a great movie. And believe me, there really are people with all the tools (or lack thereof) necessary for becoming Alex Forrest in real life.
D. Mikels on November 30, 2003
Where's my wedding ring?
Let's face it: we're guys. Wandering eyes. A perceptive inclination to gander at a short skirt, a hint of cleavage, a heart-pounding hip wiggle. I ran smack dab into a door the last time I gawked, but consider myself darn lucky compared to Michael Douglas' character in FATAL ATTRACTION--a white-knuckled "don't-let-this-happen-to-you" thriller that vividly demonstrates what can happen to a guy when he lets other parts of his anatomy do his thinking for him.
Manhattan lawyer Dan Gallagher (Douglas) has it all: successful career, attractive wife, loving daughter. So why not have an extramarital fling with a woman he met at a party while the family is out of town? Sure. Just a one-night stand. No harm, no foul. But there's something very "foul" about Dan's partner in crime, because blonde Alex Forrest (Glenn Close) may have all the right moves in the sack, but she also has an elevator that doesn't go all the way to the top. So when Dan wants to shake hands and part company, Alex will have none of it, and the table is set for a one-way ticket to Looney Land.
Let the stalking. . .the suspense. . .the thrills and chills. . .begin. The bathroom scene, in which Dan's frazzled wife Beth (Anne Archer) wipes the steam off the mirror, is worth the price of purchase of this video alone.
Director Adrian Lyne (as usual) delivers a gripping, antacid-popping story. The only positive in FATAL ATTRACTION was the fact all this bad stuff happened to an attorney. Like, how sad. I'd like to write more, but I hear the wife calling--something about all the hair in the sink. Don't want to get her riled.
Missing Person on November 17, 2005
spellbinding performances and superior dialogue help make this irresistible despite its shortcomings
Although it may seem hard to believe for many of today's viewers, 1987's "Fatal Attraction" was considered to be quite a breakthrough upon its release. There was even a lot of trouble in getting it off the ground because it was considered too risque and uncommercial.
"Fatal Attraction" was built up from a short film by screenwriter James Dearden, and the plot is admittedly pretty basic and straightforward. Michael Douglas plays Dan Gallagher, a lawyer who's been married for 9 years to his wife Beth, played by Anne Archer. Dan crosses paths with the Glenn Close character Alex Forrest for the first time at a business meeting. Instantly attracted to her, he introduces himself to her, and when Beth goes on a weekend vacation... Well, you can see where this is ultimately heading.
Don't get the wrong idea though thinking that "Fatal Attraction" is an airheadedly assembled movie. The premise may be simple, and the movie does kinda fall apart near the end, but apart from this, the scripting is masterful, the performances from Douglas and Close are intense and spellbinding, and Adrian Lyne's phenomenal, no-holds-barred directing keeps the suspense level ultra-high and the atmosphere just right throughout. The movie also sucks you with in how realistic most of it feels -- just check out the one-on-one dinner scene early on in the movie where Dan tells Alex that his wife is out of town--Douglas and Close absolutely go to town with this brilliantly-realized, compulsively watchable scene.
Many viewers have complained that the movie doesn't zero in enough on why Dan would cheat on his wife in the first place. However, the movie does make it clear that Dan is somehow feeling unsatisfied in his marriage. There's a very sly scene early in the movie where Beth is seen in bed with their 6-year-old daughter Ellen, forcing Dan to sleep elsewhere. Presumably Ellen is scared or just can't sleep, and yet when Beth informs Dan it'll just be for that one night, you can detect a sense of disgust from Dan--clearly, Dan's feeling unsatisfied in his marriage.
The ending of the movie that was used for its theatrical release is highly debatable, and how you feel about it depends on the kind of person you are. If you're the kind who feels that a man cheating on his wife is inevitable and bound to happen once or twice, then the movie's official ending will probably be satisfying to you; the producers seemed to feel that this is how the majority of the public feels, hence their decision to end the movie this way and make it more "accessible". However, if you find cheating to be flat out inexcusable, you'll probably find it to be an incomplete, unresolved movie. I see where the producers were coming from, but I feel they could have done better.
Alex Forrest is a deeply disturbed individual who undoubtedly has been sexually abused before her encounter with Dan, but that certainly doesn't make her psychotic behavior acceptable. At the same time though, no one on the right mind is going to find Dan Gallagher to be a very likable man--he really is despicably selfish and deserves to suffer some for his actions. It's a shame that the movie doesn't dig deeper into the marital issues of Dan and Beth, and also that it doesn't reveal more about what goes through Dan's mind regarding his actions, including having apparently gotten Alex pregnant.
Ultimately, "Fatal Attraction" is flawed, but it sure is extremely entertaining and suspenseful, keeping you on the edge of your seat throughout, AND it sparked debate among its viewers about serious matters. All that said, "Fatal Attraction" deserves to be hailed as, at least, a near-classic.
The "Special Collector's Edition" DVD of "Fatal Attraction" is definitely THE version to have, containing tremendous bonus material that makes the whole experience even more worthwhile. For one thing, you get to see the original ending of the movie before it was changed for theatrical release. This original ending may not have the blood and guts of what was ultimately used for the movie, but it's extremely gripping and puts a whole new spin on things, and it's actually more effective and satisfying--it's a shame, on an artistic level, that it wasn't used for the movie. There's also a nicely done, highly informative featurette containing interview material from Douglas, Close, Archer, Lyne, and the producers Stanley R. Jaffe and Sherry Lansing.
This film did more for a return to monogamy than any sex-transmitted diseases! I've just re-watched this flick, and it's just as effective as when I first viewed it. Picture a younger Baby Jane Hudson combined with Jaws, and that's pretty much "Alex", Glenn Closes' woman scorned. Michael Douglas, as the typical, successful, arrogant, mid-'80's Yuppie, who, though perfectly nested in a seemingly great marriage to gorgeous, giving, Anne Archer, has to prove he's still a desirable stud by having a "casual" (WRONG!!) fling with Closes' "Alex", a sexy, also seemingly sophisticated associate of his.
She initially gives the impression she wants the same thing as he, a "no strings attached" sex-fest, but, after a 24 hour marathon, while wifey is out of town, it begins to become apparent that Alex is becoming just a teensy bit possessive, and when Douglas, as diplomatically as possible, tries to explain to her that he's happily married, and it's dumpster time, Miss Alex IS NOT buying it.
The ensuing harassment of he and his family, which starts with pranks from Alex to express her displeasure, turns into a horror-ride that will have your emotions tap dancing faster than Ann Miller!! Some people feel the need to rationalize the entirety of a film, "why'd she do that", that wouldn't happen", etc... not me. With a film like this, it either entertained me, or didn't. Well, this one certainly did.
I found all the acting excellent, and the situation not all that unbelievable. Though "over the top", it is a non-stop ride of suspense as Douglas' nightmare (and life) un-folds. I recall there were some copy-cat flicks made shortly after this came out, trying to duplicate what this film has. Well, they didn't succeed, and were soon forgotten. I feel that this film, with its great cast , production, intelligent script, and direction, will not be topped for films of it's kind, and will stand the test of time. It pushes ALL the buttons.
David Reynoldson November 16, 2015
here's why ya don't haff ta listen ta them movie critics
Well folks, we've been watching some movies on netflix lately and we thought that if we found some good ones we'd let th folks that follow our reviews on Amazon know. I'm only gone try ta review th ones that are good; number one cause I don't like negativity and number 2 why would ya want ta hear about a movie thats bad. Even though we fersee most a these movies getting 5 stars we'll be tellin ya what we don't like about em and critizin em. Not that we think were movie critics or anything high soundin like that but because we figger we know as much about good movies as anybody else includin that fat boy that used ta be a 'film critic' on TV with that other weasley feller before I guess he struck out on his on Ignore that one me and momma did on left Behind; that wuz a specially bad case and deserved as many bad reviews as it can get.
First of all, let me say that Fatal Attraction is one a my favorite movies. It ain't a action movie but friends th action never stops. There ain't a lost minute in this here film. They wrote it right and directed it tight. Yer never settin around wonderin whats gone happen next, it happens. That said, th movie ain't rushed at all. Th actin is great. All th actors is likable. There's jest nothin worse than watchin a movie where th actors is always bein smart-a66es and puttin one another down.
Michael Douglas is at his best as a hot-shot lawyer. Even though he's likable you can jest tell he that he thinks he's hot s88t on a silver platter. You can see it when he sneers at that rabbit he bought his daughter. Now it wuz filmed in 1987 but it don't look dated or nothin, that is if ya can get past them mom slacks Anne Archer wears. There ain't nothin redeemin about them slacks. Did people really dress like that in th 80s.
Now Glenn Close is the only one you can really dislike and even then ya feel sorry for her at times. After ya get past that first scene. During that one ya want to ask yourself, does Michael Douglas really think she's hot. Friends, that's one clue that old mikey ain't really strung together right himself. Any man with a healthy sense a self-preservation would take one look at the man-jaw on that heifer, the schnozz she's hung with and th medusa hair and say 'hell no, I ain't getting my junk within ten feel a that!. There's some Daddy issues here!
And sure enough you'd be right Well that's all right I guess cause old michael gets red-pilled sure enough about half-way through th movie after Glenn Close calls im a 'effin f8888t. Now th kid, she's sweet and does a great job but who th hell decided that kid needed a haircut. Momma said they set that kid up for a lifetime a sexual confusion.
There is some anomalies in this movie. If you are careful ya can catch em. This thing is obviously set in the Fall. Why do ya see a Sanny Claws in the yard at Halloween. Now th movie is also full a dirty tricks like making the best part a th movie be when Michael Douglas kicks Glenn Close's a88, especially the part where when she opens the door he clocks her with it. And then the dirtiest trick a all, we find out she's crazy! Well, lordly ya could a fooled me. I though she was jest going through a rough patch.
Well friends, take my advice and watch this movie. Some folks has said this movie cured a lot a fooling around when it first come out. I hadn't seen any sign a folks stoppin their hoppin if ya know what I mean. Ya don't haff ta watch this movie ta know how good th advice is that I give my kids; Be where ya supposed ta be; doin what yer sposed ta be doin; with th one yer sposed ta be doin it with and you'll save yerself ninety percent a the problems that modern folks haff ta deal with.
A. Nathaniel Wallace, Jr. on August 4, 2015
Beware Of Dangerous Women!
What a thriller! I won't go into details on the plot. Others have done that already. But what I will do is go over the mistakes Michael Douglas's character Dan Gallagher makes his mistakes.
Mistake #1. This mistake was to have an affair with a woman who he works with. Affairs like this are simply too close for comfort. Alexandra Forrest knew too much about him and thus could use this knowledge against him as she did. Dan would have been better suited picking up a woman who knew nothing about him or gone the old fashioned oldest profession and used a call-girl. He had the money for that.
Mistake #2. He should have worn a condom. It was the 1980s and AIDS was/is not the only STD a man can get from a woman. He had too much education and experience to make a mistake like that. As a result of this he got Alex Forrest pregnant.
Mistake #3. Assuming he made Mistake #1 he should NEVER have gone back to Alexandra's apartment after the first fling. it may well have been too late at that point anyway, but nevertheless, Gallagher should have avoided Alex Forrest like the plague from that point on. By seeing her again he only exacerbated problems for himself.
Mistake #4. Perhaps the biggest mistake that Dan Gallagher made was breaking into Alexandra Forrest's apartment and attempting to kill her. She very well might have been able to get away with all of her previous perfidy had she killed him than and there. Too, she could have slain him and not been charged for that crime. Although who knows it the love triangle would have been unraveled by "New York's Finest." For every Andy Sipowicz in that city there are five or ten Barney Fifes!
Despite all of these mistakes by Michael Douglas's character I really liked the movie and highly recommend it. I'm the 321st person to review this fine Five Star film. Buy it on DVD and you won't be disappointed.
A. Nathaniel Wallace, Jr.
N. B. Elkson May 3, 2015
that one wonders how many lessons this poor guy,
I never ever get tired of this movie! As many times as I've watched it, and even knowing what's coming next... the knots in my stomach start building up! Right from the start, every scene is so intense, that one wonders how many lessons this poor guy, (yeah... I know... who had him), is going to have to learn before it finally blows up in his face! Glen Close is so terrifying and yet one almost feels sorry for her, (yeah... I know... who had her) too. Holding my breath right along side Michael Douglas, even applauding him when he rolls around in his bed, the morning after, giving the impression that he slept in it, (yeah... I know... shame on me), to at times glad that he was also getting knots in "his" stomach trying avoid getting caught by his wife. I recently found out that a friend of mine has never seen this movie, although she's always wanted to... and all I could keep telling her over and over again was, "watch it, you're absolutely going to love it"! Besides owning the DVD, I know own it on my Kindle!
A. Conradon February 5, 2015
A rumination on the risks of indiscretion, but with dalliances of its own
"Fatal Attraction" is a horror movie with a moral, a cautionary tale that confirms the blessings of family and fidelity. It is a smart movie that knows what it is doing-every conversation, every plot point is on theme. In a scene near the beginning, a legal team is discussing a book, a woman's fictionalization of her affair with a senator. The senator is threatening to sue for libel, but everyone in the room knows it's true. Next, a woman from the publishing firm (Glenn Close) and a married man from the law firm (Michael Douglas) extend their acquaintance over lunch. Their conversation, of course, quickly turns to indiscretions. This is effective set-dressing from screenwriter James Dearden, if you don't mind being peppered with an idea while it slowly comes to fruition. The movie takes its time to get to the junctures that we know must come, and which it so cleverly telegraphs. The titular attraction, with near fatality, play out in a steamy lost weekend that ends in a suicide attempt. The rest of the film is a tense period of escalation while we wait for the other shoe to drop. This stretch, too, is effective, as the film moves steadily out of the realm of family drama and into the horror genre. Maurice Jarre's score turns eerie and urgent as Douglas's character realizes that his actions have consequences, and that he has ransomed his perfect family to a woman bent on having him at any cost. But it remains rather obvious where things are headed, and if this isn't your first movie, it is possible to become impatient. A high point is the famous rabbit-boiling scene, as clinically executed as everything in the film. The rabbit was a pretty pet, kept only for a day or two, then slashed and drowned. The harrowing climax neatly mirrors this, but not before using a literal mirror in one of those stock horror moments where the killer suddenly appears in the glass. The trick is too old to work, as is the obligatory one-last-ending trope, the unkillable-killer trope. It's perfectly done, but it's too hackneyed. The script's original ending, which was filmed but rejected, is more original and fits just as neatly with all that has come before.
Like almost all horror films, the villain here is the most interesting figure. That's unfortunate, because the real power of the movie is its message about family. It is a ringing injunction against the kind of vain, powerful men who cheat, men who gamble all that they have for no other reason than that they can. Douglas's character is asked twice why he strayed, and the fact that he cannot give an answer is one of Dearden's smartest observations. Nobody could leave this movie wanting to have an affair... unless, of course, they miss the point by focusing on Close's character. And that is easy to do. When the movie it ended, I went over it in my mind searching for clues about her life and her behavior. Why did she lie about her father? Did her miscarriage, if that story was true, trigger her mental instability, or was it a preexisting condition? Can someone so afflicted hold down a stressful publishing job, or was that some kind of ruse? Was she, in fact, none other than the woman who wrote a book about an affair with a senator? Perhaps she used a nom de plume, and that is why she was so certain that the woman was telling the truth. The questions and theories are endless. This is a tribute to Close's acting, but it is also a distraction from the real meaning of the film: that it is wrong to cheat, not because you might cheat with an insane person, but because in cheating you yourself become the danger that jeopardizes the stability of your life and home. "Fatal Attraction" very effectively externalizes that danger, and Close makes the most of the opportunity to bring to life one of cinema's most indelible and tragic villains, but I cannot shake the feeling that Douglas's character gets off the hook a little too cleanly. All he loses, in the end, is a rabbit he never wanted.
Martin, November 27, 2014
In the park Michael Douglas pulls a practical joke on Glenn Close. He plays dead - pretending to have a heart attack. He laughs when Glenn Close comes running to him and falls to her knees at his side. He was just kidding. Glenn Close instantly counters his joke by telling him her father died of a heart attack right in front of her when she was a kid. Michael Douglas buys the story. He believes it.
Then she laughs and breaks it to him that her father is alive and well - living somewhere warm...
Great movie. Not far from the truth except perhaps from the dramatic knife-stabbing finale... Notice Glenn Close' envy. She's envious. Jealous at her Target's perfect family. Also notice that the more Michael Douglas rejects Glenn Close the more she stalks him. She can't handle being rejected. She becomes an obsessed, vindictive, completely out-of-control, raging nightmare. (By the way, I have never had any personal experience with a single-stalker. Only gang stalking. And gang stalking is a lot more subtle, insidious and scheming). Read some of the top-reviews. They are far better than mine.
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