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Fatal Attraction - It was only a one night stand

  • Aug 19, 2001
Pros: The fact they pull no punches, they let the hatred fly

Cons: violent

The Bottom Line: A little glimpse into the psycho inside all of us

fa.tal (adj.) [1]
1. Causing or capable of causing death
2. Causing ruin or destruction; disastrous
3. Of decisive importance; fateful
4. Concerning or determining one's fate
5. Obsolete; having been destined; fated

at.trac.tion (noun) [2]
1. The act or capability of attracting
2. The quality of attracting; charm
3. A feature or characteristic that attracts
4. A person, place, thing or event that is intended to attract
5. The electric or magnetic force exerted by oppositely charged particles, tending to draw or hold the particles together
6. The gravitational force exerted by one body on another

A happily married man with a beautiful wife, cute daughter, good job, nice house, a dog and a bunny. What else could he possibly want? Dealing with the idiosyncrasies of writers and publishers, he meets an alluring woman by chance. Next day she shows up in his office as an associate of a writer he is representing. Fate or chance meeting?

His wife is out of town, they get caught in a rain storm, she lives near by - a little slap and tickle between the sheets and he leaves the next morning. However, Glenn Close is not a lady you walk out on, as Michael Douglas soon finds out.

Fatal Attraction is a finely crafted look into obsession and dementia. It isn't a pretty little love affair, a fling, a one night stand. It is dirty secrets, lies, deception. It is brutal, thought provoking and destructive. It is every disturbing little thought, action and nuance inside all of us.

I remember when it was first released. It was the big joke, guys were afraid (using the term lightly) and a lot of raw humor bantered about regarding who you picked up for a ‘quickie'. Watch out, they could start stalking you! A joke, to be sure, but let's look at the whole picture.

Glenn Close (who looked entirely HOT in this movie) was a successful and self-assured (on the surface) woman. Good job, nice apartment, appeared to have money, physically attractive. What no one really saw was the raw need in the woman. The fear of being alone, abandoned. No different than anyone else, she is attracted to a man but it soon becomes an obsession. The term ‘stalking' comes to mind. This could have been when that term really came into play in the media limelight, I am not sure. When released, her rage becomes empowering.

Now had this been a long time affair, you might have understood the idea behind her obsession. But it had simply been a weekend fling, something that was established from the beginning. Therefore, it is hard to absorb her rage and obsession. Naturally there must be an underlying explanation behind it, but that is never introduced.

Instead you watch her spiral out of control over a short period of time, each movement escalating into something even more terrifying. You don't understand the power behind this, because it is never truly discussed. This is the basis for fear, because you have no idea what she is capable of or what she will attempt next. This is a true monster.

In the same vein, you don't understand why Michael Douglas even starts this little tryst. The beginning of the movie shows a bright, successful family man. In love with his wife, adoring his child. What could possibly drive him to this fling? During the entire movie they try to portray him as totally naive, yet highly intelligent at the same time. Are we really supposed to believe that ‘man' is so ruled by their trouser monster that they will risk everything for a little slap and tickle? I found this premise to be a little demeaning, but I also take into account the age of the movie.

Ann Archer (the wife) on the other hand - you KNOW who she is and what she will do. They don't pull any punches with her. She is upfront and states her case. She scared me as much as Close in this movie because you know she will fight to defend her brood, and she will fight to the death. The term ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned' could be viewed on both sides here. Close, the spurned woman, is irrational and deadly, Archer, the spurned woman, WILL protect her nest.

So there are many ways to look at this movie. It is brutal and sexual. It is a shaky "R" movie because the sex is powerful, there is a bit of nakedness, the confrontations are deadly and nasty. There is really nothing pretty about the movie at all, but it does make you think. There is that primal quality inside all of us based on protection. The need to protect ourselves from those that intrude into our ‘space'. When pushed to the edge, we react, plain and simple. All former rules are cast aside.

When Archer gets on the phone and quietly says "If you come near my family again, I will kill you" and her peaceful Mommy voice, I got chills.

Is there someone out there that you are obsessed with? Someone that you call on the phone and hang up on, drive by their house, want to know what they are doing every single minute, peek into their windows and their lives trying to become a part of something that will never be? Or are you the one that is being stalked? Funny thing is, some of us never know.

Originally when viewed I would have probably given this movie a 2-3 star rating, but with a re-watch, later in my life, I have to move it higher in the ranks. A different head and a different pair of eyes has watched this movie this time around and I understand more what obsession is now. It is damn scary. A lot of violence, nudity and raw language here, not meant for the kiddies folks.

Writing credits James Dearden & Nicholas Meyer, directed by Adrain Lyne.

[1] [2] provided by Atomica.com (my online brain)


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Quick Tip by . August 30, 2009
Fatal Attraction, starring Glenn Close, Michael Douglas, --still chilling after all these years- Adrian Lyne also produced Unfaithful...
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Fatal Attraction is a 1987 thriller film about a married man who has a weekend affair with a woman who refuses to allow it to end and who becomes obsessed with him. It stars Michael Douglas, Glenn Close and Anne Archer. It was directed by Adrian Lyne. The film was adapted by James Dearden and Nicholas Meyer from an earlier short film by Dearden for British television Diversion (1980). The movie closely follows the plot of Clint Eastwood's Play Misty for Me (1971).

Fatal Attraction was a smash hit, becoming the second highest grossing film of 1987 in the United States and hugely popular internationally. Critics were enthusiastic about the film, and it received six Academy Award nominations, including that for Best Picture. The character of Alex Forrest has been cited as a notable film example of a person with borderline personality disorder.

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