Fatal Attraction (1987)

October 05, 2014
Fatal Attraction movie review
Photo Credit: Fatal Attraction / Paramount Pictures
Loving husband and father Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) takes advantage of alone time away from his family to have a weekend affair with a lustful acquaintance Alexandra Forrest (Glenn Close). Their quick romp prompts marathons of super sex and confessional conversations about tragic childhood experiences until Gallagher has to cut off this temporary fantasy and return to his normal life.

But what he doesn't realize until it's too late is the profound effect he had on his carnal fix. The poor guy's one pick of a million possible frolics in the hay turns out to be a psychopath; an emotionally unstable, pathological lying, rabbit-boiling, breaking-and-entering loon.

Contrasting from other horror movies where masked killers slay innocent teens, Fatal Attraction allows for two characters to duel emotionally through the go-to-suspense maker known as stalking. Both melodramatic and climatic, Gallagher tries to protect his safety net of family and sanity while Forrest assumably never had either.

At first, Gallagher seems like another generic schmo who gets what's coming to him with sleeping with a random stranger and expecting to get away with it. When he tries to cut the affair short, his attempt isn't easy or successful. As Forrest becomes a wild card pulling everything out of her arsenal to attack Gallagher and his family, sympathy grows for the guy who made a simple mistake. A simple emotional performance by Douglas gives enough reason to root for him, even if the storyline shows Forrest as a surface-level psychopath.

Dozens and dozens of actresses tried out for the now iconic role of Alexandra, and there is reasonable cause to see why Close won. From her first appearance, as the audience, we know she is dangerous bait. Behind her blond curls, blue eyes, and pearly white smile, she delivers lines and looks with so much allure you question her motives every time she pops up. Though sometimes the script reduces her to be a blank canvas - a revenge-fueled tryst - Close's mystique makes me wish there was more to her character's psychological depravity.

Cat and mouse chases are a staple in movies, and in the horror genre, it's usually young victims warding off faceless blood-thirsty butchers or a family haunted by supernatural landlords. The torture Gallagher faces is pure tactical deceit fueled by a psychological rampage of sex, lies, and revenge. Forrest creatively lures him in with one look and Gallagher is hooked. From then on, her tactics to resolve his abandonment of her and threaten his livelihood are complex, even if melodramatic and theatrical.

More than twenty years later, Fatal Attraction doesn't necessarily hold up for its complexity, originality nor blockbuster phenomenon like many of its other 1980s pop culture siblings. Giving enough tension and thrills to earns its place as a date night warning label, the movie is both affected by the time-frame of its production and manages to supersede intentionally trashy stalker movies of today.
Rating: ★★☆
Have you seen Fatal Attraction What do you think?

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