Unfaithful ★★★½

Director Adrian Lyne has that habit of being able to scare the living shit out of us men with his insight into the workings of relationships. Never one to miss the chance to fully explore the nature of fidelity, monogamy, or simple lust, Lane has flirted with the subject in almost every film he's ever done. From Fatal Attraction's iconic bunny boiler to the icebox raiding of 9 1/2 Weeks, he displays our flaws, insecurities, and desires with often uncompromising honesty. Given that two of every three marriages nowadays ends in divorce, it's hardly surprising that adultery is a common theme in movies both past and present. Unfaithful may be possibly the lesser known of his works when compared alongside Fatal Attraction, Indecent Proposal, and Mickey and Kim's fuckfest, but this harbours all the same characteristics of those iconic eighties and nineties dramas.
I've always wondered when you're married, that to cheat, you have to be actively looking for the chance. I don't think if you're happy you'd risk everything to get your leg over. Maybe that's me oversimplifying my own mindset on the subject, but here in Lyne's film we have Diane Lane, apparently happily married to Richard Gere and living in the suburbs with their eight year old son. They seem like a normal couple, but their busy life has led to a lack of intimacy, and from that little acorn, Lane's Connie starts down a path towards adultery. While out in town one afternoon she is caught in a windstorm and bumps into a handsome young bookseller, and sparks fly fairly instantly. It takes her a little while to succumb to his charms over the space of a few visits, firstly to thank him for his help, before the flirting becomes so intense she sleeps with him. It helps that the young man is Olivier Martinez, a smooth, good-looking 27 year old who makes it plain he wants her. Racked with guilt, she still cannot stay away from the handsome Paul, and makes frequent trips for sex, intense and dangerous, including a restroom fuck in a coffee-shop. She's in a daze, infatuated, and also bringing suspicion from her husband who senses something's wrong. Where the film goes next was a welcome surprise, something I really didn't see coming.
Diane Lane has made some great appearances in a variety of different movie genres. Femme fatales, spunky singers, unfaithful wives, even the foster mom of a superhero, Lane has had a decent career and an interesting love life off-screen. In this film she shows a lot of skin, and seems to have a good time doing it, convincingly done. Martinez may well be a heartthrob, but I couldn't help feel his character was a little stereotypical. Gere however, is the weak link for once. The dutiful husband who lacked the drive to keep his wife fulfilled, his character pouts and plans only to risk everything with his actions. Lyne's film isn't the most in-depth look at marriage and relationships, but it does show that passion can be ignited by the mere inkling of an opportunity. I also liked that final scene, a nice touch to a film that always portrayed events were spinning out of control very quickly.