103 of 110 people found the following review helpful
This sensual and somber drama about infidelity stars Diane Lane and Richard Gere as a married couple headed for tragedy. Connie (Lane) and Edward (Gere) are successful suburbanites with a seemingly happy marriage, until Connie meets an attractive younger man and begins an affair. Edward wonders what's going on, hires a private detective, and gets the answer he suspected all along.
Lane is memorable as the guilt-ridden wife who is obsessed with her lover. She is lovely, mature, and honest in her portrayal and deserved her nomination for Best Actress. Gere is almost a supporting actor here, but he is wonderful playing an average guy. Olivier Martinez plays Lane's paramour. His character was fairly one-dimensional and could have been developed further, but he was very good in the role.
The first time I saw the movie, I thought it was relatively dull because of its relentlessly low-key presentation and leisurely pace. On the second viewing, however, I found it a real winner. There are long periods without dialogue, where the camera focuses on facial nuances. The silence gives one a chance to appreciate the fine acting. The photography is excellent, from wide shots of dirty urban streets to warm glimpses of home. The musical score was lovely, lilting and romantic. "Unfaithful" is erotic and tender, with some surprises and an excellent ending.
47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2002
There is a certain beauty contained within this film that makes it beyond a film about infidelity and its consequences. Diane Lane didn't get my attention until the recent "The Glass House." As a new fan, I had to see 'Unfaithful'...her performance is nothing short of remarkable.
The story revolves around a 'happily married', middle-aged couple living in the suburbs of NY with one small son. Their life is the picture of the 'American dream', until one day, Mrs. Sumner (Diane Lane) goes into the city on business and cosmically collides with the much younger Paul Martel (Martinez). When he invites her in to clean up her skinned knee a most deadly affair begins.
What makes this movie different from all the other films with themes such as betrayal, etc, is that we see the struggle and transformation Diane's character makes. Several times we see Diane reflect on her various 'visits' to Martinez and all at once her face displays pleasure, pain, and paranoia. She brings likability to a character we should hate. Richard Gere is one of my favorite actors and I deeply respect him for taking a 'backseat' role in this film. His character torments himself wondering why his wife would possibly want to cheat on him, as he thought he was providing a perfect life.
Added suspense and thrills come about when Gere starts to suspect and eventually finds out about the affair. We then see the direct effect affairs have on families. The murder mystery was thrown in more for entertainment value but the true artistic aspect remains in the adultress' mind.
We've seen affairs start from heartbreak, drunkeness, seduction...any reason other than this film's...boredom. From boredom and seduction we get obsession, we see Diane become addicted to her breakaway from daily life. For those of you who love Richard Gere as much as I do, you really have to bite your lip watching him getting cheated on! However, there is great remorse as Connie (Diane) really does love her husband, but someone dies before the affair is ended. This movie truly remains with its viewers. I recommend picking up the haunting tracks 'Moby - Rushing' and 'E.S. Posthumus - Nara' to reexperience the emotions captured through watching 'Unfathful.' This is a definete must see!
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2002
This is the movie that everyone should view before deciding whether to engage in an adulterous affair. Connie Summer (Diane Lane) is a woman with far too much time on her hands. Her husband Edward (Richard Gere) easily earns enough money to support the family in an upper middle class lifestyle. Connie only has one
boy and no serious avocations to focus upon. She is an attractive and bored woman approaching middle age. In other words, Connie is a walking time bomb waiting to go off. Connie literally runs into the much younger Paul during a windy afternoon in Manhattan. One thing leads to another, and eventually Connie ends up in Paul's bed. The odds are highly against this become a lasting relationship, but Connie enjoys the lustful encounters and isn't particularly interested in thinking about the distant future. The pleasure sectors of her brain now dominate the analytical. Practical questions can wait to be answered on another day.
Edward wasn't born yesterday and quickly realizes that something is amiss. We follow the unfolding events knowing full well something tragic is about to occur. The dialogue is near perfect, and the acting superb. Diane Lane is brilliant and this may be the best work that Gere has done in a number of years. Director Adrian Lyne's approach is thoroughly secular. These characters display no religious inclinations. Nonetheless, the awfulness of adultery comes across loud and clear. This is an act of betrayal that almost certainly will severely damage, if not completely destroy a marital relationship. Do you really wish to take that risk? After seeing Unfaithful, you will likely say it's not worth it. I can't quite give this film five stars, but four and a half seem appropriate.
52 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2002
Adrian Lyne is not known as the king of subtlety, as in his "Fatal Attraction" or "Flashdance." He showed remarkable restraint in "Lolita"; giving the film a beautiful and reverent patina of intelligence and honor especially in Jeremy Iron's portrayal of Humbert. Why the major distributors did not take on the mantle of "Lolita" will forever remain a mystery.
In Lyne's newest film, "Unfaithful," he finally comes into his own with a film that is not only provocative but also one that resonates with clear headed thought and remarkably subtle performances.
"Unfaithful" is the story of Connie and Richard Sumner (Diane Lane and Richard Gere), happily married for eleven years with one son living in White Plains, New york. One day, Connie is in NYC for business in the middle of a hurricane-like windstorm when she literally runs into Paul Martel (Olivier Martinez). After Connie scuffs her knees in a fall, Paul invites her into his apartment in Soho for some tea and thus begins a torrid, ultra-sexual love affair. Everything up to this point is Lyne-like with Lane and Martinez never looking more beautiful and sensual in their entire careers amid scenes of photographically perfect lovemaking.
But Lyne throws a wrench into his usual mix of infidelity amd marital indiscretion by adding a murder and thriller plot that adds dimension and breadth to the film. Is it any wonder that this cast was interested in doing this film? Especially Richard Gere who is extremely picky about the projects he undertakes.
Even though Diane Lane has been making movies since she was twelve, she does wonders with her character here. Her Connie is in love with her husband and her life but simply cannot resist the charms of her "amour fou" Paul. There are no big decisions to be made here, Connie is bowled over by Paul and does almost nothing to resist his charms...he is French,handsome and young after all.
The reprecussions of Connie's affair are played out with Hitchcockian suspense yet without Hitchcock's 50's sensibilities and Calvinist modes of retribution. The ending is left remarkably open to interpretation.
Even though Diane Lane has been making movies for 30 years, she has never had a better part than that of Connie and she makes the most of every one of her scenes. She is a revelation in her reticent yet all-consuming realtionship with Paul and with her intelligent and sympathetic dealings with her family. We truly care for her and her situation: she transforms what could have been a negative part into something positive and life-affirming. Both Gere and Martinez are also first rate and empathetic: we care for both even though they are far from perfect human beings.
Adrian Lyne has had a rocky career with several lows ("Lolita") and few highs ("Fatal Attraction"). "Unfaithful" shows us all what a fine, accomplished, subtle film maker he is and what a diligent and persuasive director of actors he can be.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
The three main actors, Diane Lane, Richard Gere and Olivier Martinez, do an absolutely wonderful job with this movie.
This is not a female version of Fatal Attraction as some have suggested. At least I did not feel it was so.
Diane Lane is the happily married mid-forties woman who accidentally meets a young incredibly attractive man in his 20s who, is obviously attracted and interested in her. Her husband Richard Gere is a cuddly lovable, happily married and successful man. What really blows you away, is why would she stray? Oh yeah, this young man is drop dead gorgeous, sexy and is patiently interested in her.. Deadly combination.
This young man, is like light to the moth of Diane Lane's character and she keeps coming back despite the potential harm to her family. Since she is doing such a shoddy job of hiding her involvement, in her intensity to see this young man, Richard Gere's character begins to suspect something.
At one point in the movie, Diane Lane's character is seen by some friends in the young man's neighborhood and she is forced to have lunch with them to allay suspicions. Olivier Martinez's character comes to the restaurant to have a dailliance in the back with Diane Lane's character, while she is supposedly in the ladies room. However, these ladies in conversation make it quite clear when they see Olivier Martinez that they feel he is wildly attractive. One even goes as far to say, she would go to bed with him in a second. The other, is wilting while recalling a former affair that she has had and its devastation. Diane Lane's character is forced to see both sides of the coin.
ACTING AND ACTION ARE INTENSE:
There are some pretty steamy scenes in this movie. Diane Lane does an excellent job also of showing both her mixed feelings and reckless abandon. You see her maniacly pursuing this forbidden relationship, once it is is started. Richard Gere is great as the devoted husband. He is playful and lovable, but not stupid. He does everything he can to understand what is going on, until he has proof in his hands. Olivier Martinez, is one very attractive and compeling young man. I'm sure we will see him even more in Hollywood (in English speaking films) now that he has done this movie. He is wonderful as the young lover.
I won't go further than this, but the movie takes some twists you don't expect and some you do. Wonderful job. Very entertaining.
I think this movie will make some people think. It could start some very interesting conversations.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2002
Irish Director Adrian Lyne (Fatal Attraction, Indecent Proposal, Lolita, and the disturbing Jacob's Ladder) gives Diane Lane an Oscar-worthy performance. Every subtle emotion and deception is panoshly silked through every scene, every image. Richard Gere, understatedly brilliant, and plays the dutiful husband to the adulterous wife. Men with stay at-home wives may wish to notice that all's not well in the confines of the suburbs if one meets the mystery of Olivier Martinez (or any other seductive stranger). After her first act of adultery, the train ride is amazingly well-done with conflicting emotions and painful, yet pleasurable, emotional reactions to what just happened, (and what she was missing?). Near the end, she even though "what if I had taken the cab instead of going into the seductive man's home?" The sex was hot and intense and so was Lyne's brilliant capture and Oscar-worthy steering of Diane Lane's every emotional turn. The film also proved that life after an affair can go on just as he proved in Fatal Attraction and Indecent Proposal though is not one to be desired. A twist of fate ending was brilliant leaving you with the "what did they do?" or, rather, "what would you do?" Very European ending that always rests the conclusions in your own mores--rather than in the filmmakers. American audiences have to have way to much closure rather than drifting off to think: what would they do? Fatal Attraction had to have an end. Unfaithful had to be faithful to the unknown journey of the viewer in the back of his or her own mind. Maybe the criticism listed here is the lack of viewers wanting to face the challenge of what would they do? -Felecia Constance Rowe, Chairwoman, Felecia Constance Rowe, Inc.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2003
Unfaithful breaks the genre conventions of love affairs to bring a fresh and, more importantly, realistic approach to the subject. The end result is a fantastic film that explores the passions and consequences of cheating on a loved one.
So many films dealing with the subject usually do one of two things, either create a spouse who is so vile and ruthless you're happy for the other to have an affair with someone who treats them right. Or the spouse who does the cheating is just a nasty person. Either way, only one is really a victim. In Unfaithful though, both spouses are victims. The affair just happens, as there usually is no strong reason. Real life doesn't always have a reason. There is no real bad guy, just bad actions and the downward spiral that is sometimes caused by them.
The film has a great pace to it, as it explores the early passion of an affair, then the pain and disaster that follows. Everything happens when it should, and nothing is ever completely spelled out for the audience, especially the beautifully constructed ending, acknowledging that yes, viewers can think for themselves.
Unfaithful is definitely recommended and well worth viewing. It's about time a film was honest in its portrayal of adultery.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
This movie's opening scene bears the stark ambience of impending doom, and holds onto it tenaciously for the next couple hours. I actually only saw this film because the pickings were so very slim on this past Memorial Day weekend~~~~~~~
I must say I was both pleased and surprised when UNFAITHFUL far exceeded my expectations: Here I found a subtly intense thriller where every look or little phrase spoke volumes, where the cinematography was so brilliant you could almost physically feel certain things right along with the characters: the omnipotent elements of weather - the gusting wind, the driving rain - the reckless freedom of a fast ride, the shock of a fall, a blow, a lustful touch, the sharp intake of a breath. Diane Lane, as expected, gave a stellar performance - wherein she effortlessly mixed what would seem to be a shallow and lustful inclination with so many fathoms of depth. You found yourself still bound to sympathize with her portrayal of Connie Sumner, an attractive and energetic housewife with an ideal life with the token ideal family - a precocious 8-year-old son with a doting father who happens also to be her caring and supporting husband. You even come to love her in a way - in spite of the fact that she commits to a course that steamrolls her fate as well as that of those she loves best... (And I must add that I was also quite intrigued by the many very pleasing and lovely metamorphoses performed by her hair...)
I was much struck, as by a lightening bolt even, by the sudden realization that Richard Gere could act! I do say, though I'd seen him in many films upon many occasions previously, I had not ever noticed this quality so resoundingly in him before! He delivers his portrayal of the betrayed spouse with a fearsome poignancy. I highly doubt anyone could have played Edward Sumner quite so well as he has. Indeed, this role was made for him!
Edward is every bit the ideal husband comfortably immersed in his ideal marriage. He runs his own company in Manhattan and indulges Connie, his active and contented wife. Connie is very much involved in auction/fundraising work, which requires her to make frequent treks into the City. It is upon one of these treks, on an immensely wind-gust day, that her life takes its drastic turn.
In a likely twist of fate that would border on cliché if it weren't so well done, she literally runs head-on into a young, French bookseller. Paul Martel (played adeptly by Olivier Martinez) exudes intense charm and seductive energy. From the moment they meet, there is an almost tangible spark of sexual energy between them. It is a spark that Connie finds herself reluctant to resist. As like a magnet, she is drawn to him - and within days, she comes calling with her hair all done up, a lively twinkle in her eyes, and a sly smile on her face - the naughty, naughty girl! Just before her final fall from grace, she hesitates, but by then it is too late, for Paul has already bestowed upon the touch of her fingertips poetry in Braille.
I don't want to say what happens next or give any more away than I already have. Let me only say that every scene in this film was charged with intense emotion wrought with artistic beauty. A few of these scenes were actually breathtaking in their flawless brilliancy.
UNFAITHFUL is ultimately shattering to the senses. It's a devastating depiction of one of the greatest fallibilities of human nature. It left me sleepless - thoughtful and brooding over all the many little choices one must make in life, and how one wrong decision can take on a life of its own, perpetuating devastating consequences like a stone thrown in the river causing the ripples to radiate out all around it.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2003
This movie avoids the easy out that most films of its kind take--the cliche tale of the psycho lover or cold, controlling spouse. Instead, this movie reaches a careful balance where all three characters are sympathetic, even when they are doing ghastly things.
It would have been easy to make the husband a jerk. Instead, he is a basically decent man who has some problems with communication, greed, and managing his emotions.
It would have been easy to make the wife shallow and selfish so that we loathe her for doing this to her family. Instead, she is a good mother, generous person, and loving wife who makes one mistake after the other as she gets caught up in an immoral indulgence.
Finally, it would be easiest of all to make the lover a psycho. Instead, we get Paul--a compassionate and tender caretaker who loves books. He's also a reckless, arrogant, womanizer, but the movie is careful to temper that with his good qualities.
People who think this film is about a bored housewife and a sexually violent boyfriend didn't bring enough experience or attention to the film, I fear.
Connie is boxed in, not bored. She spends every day taking care of her son and her husband, the house, and other people in her charity work. She is the consummate care-taker, a crone before her time, locked into that role by her choices. Her husband is a decent person who loves her, but he is portrayed from the start as a big child. She has to tell the family what to wear, what to eat, where to be, and what to say. She controls and takes care of everything.
When she meets Paul, she finds someone who takes care of her for a change, even though he is much younger. From the start, he tends to her wounds. He indulges her girlishness, and teaches her new things. And yes, he exerts physical but _consensual_ control over her in the bedroom.
This movie doesn't have any rape scenes in it. People who think otherwise must have missed oh-so-subtle indications of consent such as her _literally asking him to do what he's doing_.
The sex scenes are intensely passionate. Raw base recklessness is portrayed on the screen. In particular, Diane Lane manages to portray a girlish, trembling eroticism that makes the viewer hold in breath to behold. She perfectly captures a mixture of laughter, trembling and tears--the sound of anguished surrender.
Moreover, the affair itself is tenderness. Again, it would have been very easy to make the relationship about a mere physical affair, but the script goes to great lengths to make it an emotional affair as well. The most wounding thing to Connie's husband is not the sex, but the intimacy his wife shared with another man behind his back.
The confrontation between the husband and the lover is the best scene I've ever seen from Richard Gere, and a scene likely to haunt long after you've put this film away.
The mood evoked is meloncholy--sadness over the follies of human beings, over what good people can do when they lack courage, and how sexual needs are sometimes man's downfall. Overall, this is a sophistocated tale of choices, consequences, and some deep truths about lies, marriage, fidelity, and intimacy.
26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
UNFAITHFUL is a film that might perhaps tap into a viewer's double standard regarding extramarital sex.
Connie Sumner (Diane Lane) and her husband Edward (Richard Gere) seem to have all the ingredients for a perfect marriage after eleven years of togetherness. They live in a perfect house in an affluent New York City suburb and have a child, a well behaved son, enrolled in the perfect school. Edward is financially successful as the head of his own business, and is apparently an excellent provider. Connie doesn't have to work, but spends her time soliciting for charities. They have bountiful food on the table and drive upscale, late model cars. All are physically healthy. The household is free of disruptive emotional extremes.
Some would kill for much less.
One day in the Big Apple, a violent windstorm literally blows Connie into the arms of a used-book merchant, Paul Martel (Olivier Martinez), staggering down the street with a burden of tomes. Both fall to the pavement, Connie scraping her knee. Paul is young and handsome. Paul invites Connie up to his apartment for tea and band aids. Such is Connie's starvation for seduction and passionate intimacy that she's soon visiting the city on a regular basis for a discrete affair carried on not always so discretely. Edward becomes suspicious after odd answers to the usual end-of-the-day query, "What did you do today, honey?" Edward eventually hires a gumshoe to follow her.
I first saw Diane Lane in the TV miniseries LONESOME DOVE and thought "What a sweetheart!" In UNFAITHFUL, it's "What a Babe!" - but, hey, let's not allow that to color my opinion of her performance here. Lane is superb as a subliminally bored woman feeling the conflicting emotions - giddiness, guilt, exuberance, mortification - of an illicit affair, a turmoil wonderfully illustrated as we watch her face and body language as she comes home on the commuter rail after her first intimate encounter. Lane, not Gere, is the star of this film, though the latter is perfectly adequate as the man who slowly realizes he's being cuckolded. My minor disenchantment with the movie is an ending too open-ended for my taste, especially as it occurs in front of the local police station.
Though the viewer must certainly think that Connie is making a Big Mistake for the long term, I had sympathy for her short term actions. I'm left wondering if this is a gender-based opinion. Would I have felt different if the roles of Ed and Connie had been reversed, and the former had been doing the cheating? I suspect so. And would a female viewer have a harsher opinion of Connie's choices?
I liked UNFAITHFUL for the questions it raises. I think it much better than the response it received while in theater release. Oh, and I never realized sno globes were built so sturdily. Mine with the cute, little bunnies in the forest shattered early on.