Retro Review: Unfaithful

Sex, Lies and Adrian Lyne seem to be an ever evolving combo in Hollywood.

Director Lyne has directed some of the more sexual, tantalizing and thought-invoking films of the past two decades.

Lyne knows how to create a steamy sex scene and just how to weave it into a film. Some of his films include “9 ½ Weeks”, “Fatal Attraction”, “Lolita” and “Indecent Proposal”.

Lyne’s new film “Unfaithful” is his return after the scandal past his last film “Lolita”. In “Unfaithful”, Richard Gere plays Edward Sumner, a dedicated business man who is married to beautiful Connie Sumner (Diane Lane) and they have created a perfect life in the suburbs.

Connie often takes the train into the city to go to the market and shop.

On a blustery day, she is nearly blown off her feet as she tries desperately to hang onto her many purchases. She bumps into Paul Martel (Olivier Martinez) who helps her hail a cab and tends to her scraped knee. There is an immediate raw chemistry between the two and Connie is drawn to Paul. She is curious and finds excuses to see him.

Eventually Paul and Connie become lovers and become addicted to each other. Slowly signs of their forbidden affair come to Edward and he hires a private detective to confirm his thoughts. Edward and Connie’s lives are shattered as Edward confronts Paul. All of their lives become awry.

“Unfaithful” has a lot of passion and preaching below its surface as Lyne focuses more on the atmosphere surrounding the event than the affair itself. This does draw out the film a lot more but it also allows Lyne to get great performances from his leads.

Gere shows a lot of layers to his character as he is restrained in scenes but you can see the emotion shining through as he reacts to the events around him. This is very evident in the confrontation scene. That scene is an amazing performance by Gere as his character begins to evolve.

Lane is very sexy as the adulteress but her character never seems to be breakdown emotionally but instead kind of deals with the affair as more of an addiction than a matter of the heart. Because of that angle I almost felt that Lane’s character was harsh and unloving. I never really felt for her.

Lyne had to shoot two different endings and I am not sure if I was satisfied with the eventual ending. The film feels quite long and the ending that is there kind of feels very unjustified. All I wanted was a plot twist in the second half to carry the film towards a satisfactory ending. I didn’t get it.

I really enjoyed Gere and Lyne’s direction but had a hard time connecting with Lane’s performance or new comer Martinez.

3 out of 5

So Says the Soothsayer.

Written: May 12, 2002

2 thoughts on “Retro Review: Unfaithful

  1. Love me some Diane Lane, and this movie explains everything about why. For an actress, she’s just so … real. There’s just this kind of authenticity about her so many other actresses can’t get. She’s guarded but vulnerable at the same time, and that comes through in most of her performances.

    Also, she has some smokin’ chemistry with Richard Gere.

    1. the question is when is Diane going to win an Oscar??? Her and Julianne Moore are two obvious Oscar winners who have never won. Amy Adams is quickly jumping into the category too. I smell a new Top 10 best actors and actresses who haven’t won an Oscar, yet! I’ll have to get on that.

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