Vote now for Best of Detroit 2021

Wednesday, May 15, 2002


Posted By on Wed, May 15, 2002 at 12:00 AM

The only surprising thing about Unfaithful is that director Adrian Lyne (Nine 1/2 Weeks, Fatal Attraction, Lolita) has erred on the side of restraint. Supposedly based on Claude Chabrol’s 1969 film La Femme Infidèle, but with a plot so basic — woman cheats on husband, husband exacts revenge, guilt abounds — that it could qualify as public domain material, the movie is an exercise in the inevitable. It’s the kind of wafer-thin conceit that could either be juiced to the max, horror-thriller style, or played for subtleties and underlying tension, a la In the Bedroom. And from Lyne we expect juice.

Connie (Diane Lane) and Edward (Richard Gere) are an average fortysomething movie couple, which is to say they live in a cloying suburb with their insufferably cute 8-year-old son and have vague, upscale jobs — you know, normal people, ripe for a little chaos. One day, while in the big bad city, Connie has an encounter with a younger man, Paul (Oliver Martinez), a Euro-hunk whose designer stubble fairly screams, “We will fuck and then things will turn out bad for all involved.” Heedless, and with so much pent-up lust that you begin to wonder what Gere’s problem is, Connie leaps into his charmingly seedy web. This is the crime and now we just have to wait for the punishment.

Lyne handles the sex scenes as soft-core sequences of trembling and textures — pretty classy stuff — and the one violent scene as a bravura bit of subjective camera work with lots of gushing blood to signify the fatal rupturing of Connie and Edward’s life. Both Lane and Gere rise to the occasion, playing characters who struggle unhappily with the consequences of their impulses, but it’s this pervading mood of interior disquiet which makes the movie, finally, a little dull.

One appreciates the filmmaker’s attempt to treat the material in a grown-up manner — and the last shot is nearly perfect — but as a psychological study it’s facile and inconsequential. They should have gone for the sleaze.

Richard C. Walls writes about film for Metro Times. E-mail him at


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

More by Richard C. Walls

Most Popular

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 20, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation