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Fatal Attraction (1987)
Fatal Attraction is a 1987 American thriller blended with horror, directed by Adrian Lyne and starring Michael Douglas, Glenn Close and Anne Archer. The film centers around a married man who has a weekend affair with a woman who refuses to allow it to end, resulting in emotional blackmail, stalking and an ensuing obsession on her part. The film was adapted by James Dearden and Nicholas Meyer from an earlier short film by Dearden for British television, Diversion (1980). Fatal Attraction was a 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, Best Actress for Close and Best Supporting Actress for Archer. Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) is a successful, happily married New York attorney living in Manhattan when he meets Alexandra "Alex" Forrest (Glenn Close), an editor for a publishing company, through business. While his wife, Beth (Anne Archer), and daughter, Ellen (Ellen Hamilton Latzen), are out of town for the weekend, he has a passionate affair with Alex.
Glenn Close's career got its first big boost in 1985's Jagged Edge, but her role as Fatal's Alex Forrest pushed her into stardom. She seems like a nice enough gal at the start -- though her hair could use some work, she's a witty and sexy book editor... just the right kind of gal to lure Michael Douglas's Dan Gallagher (a lawyer... married) into her bed. But Dan's crisis of conscience sends him scurrying home to his family in short order, only for Alex to start obsessing over their 'relationship.'
Barely a half hour into the film, Alex has slit her wrists, and Dan finds himself up the creek. History has well recorded where the movie goes from here.
Director Adrian Lyne (who provides a commentary track on the DVD, among various other enticing extras) was coming off Flashdance and Nine 1/2 Weeks and perfects his soft-focus 'commercial' feel here. We feel like we're watching the perfect urban family story... until things take a sudden turn for the worse.
The movie hinges totally on Close's acting chops as a psycho, and sure enough she's got them in spades. On another viewing you'll thrill over such juicy, foreshadowing dialogue like her attempt to woo a reluctant Dan over for a second tryst. He protests, saying he has to walk the dog at lunch. Alex replies, 'Bring the dog! I love animals! I'm an excellent cook!'
Irony like that doesn't make its way into many movies these days -- especially not popcorn thrillers like this one. As mentioned above, the DVD has some interesting bonus material, most notably the original ending to the film, which is strikingly difficult than the bathroom showdown on the final cut.