.

Unfaithful

Richard Gere, Diane Lane

Directed by Adrian Lyne
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
May 10, 2002

Diane Lane has long been in search of the right role to blend her actor's grit and star radiance. Since her vibrant film debut at twelve, in 1979's A Little Romance, Lane has mostly been puffing up peacocks, be it Mark Wahlberg in The Perfect Storm or Keanu Reeves in Hardball. Indie flicks such as My New Gun and A Walk on the Moon revealed her range, but the show-stopping role to touch a nerve with audiences has eluded her.

Until now. As Connie Sumner, the wife and mother who shatters her seemingly idyllic life with husband Edward (Richard Gere) in the swank burbs of New York's Westchester County by fucking her brains out with Paul (Olivier Martinez), a hunky SoHo bookseller, Lane is a force of nature. Her slow-burning, fiercely erotic performance charges the movie, which is a sordid, silky wallow in guilty sex — and I mean that as a compliment. For director Adrian Lyne, working from a script by Alvin Sargent and William Broyles Jr., Unfaithful (woman cheats on husband) is the flip side to his megahit Fatal Attraction (husband cheats on wife). And the damn ruse still works.

If Unfaithful seems less shallow than Lyne's Indecent Proposal, it's because the story is loosely based on Claude Chabrol's memorably wicked La Femme Infidele, in which a husband's revenge on his wife's lover revitalizes his marriage. The new ending, though purposefully ambiguous, trades in Chabrol's subversive wink for a bogus stand on family sanctity. But that's just the end. Before that, Lane and Martinez turn on enough carnality to singe the screen. And Gere, though still more stud than shlub, locates the emotional reserves in Edward that might chill a marriage. When Edward finally unleashes his pent-up rage, Gere is shockingly good. Unfaithful isn't anything new — Lyne's fear of female sexuality is as disquieting as ever — but this seductive tease of a thriller gets the job done. It's a scorcher.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Try a Little Tenderness”

    Otis Redding | 1966

    This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com