‘I guess you thought you’d get away with it. Well, you can’t...’
As one of the seminal yuppie nightmare films that were so popular in the 80s and early 90s, Fatal Attraction is also one of the most infamous, to the point that ‘bunny boiler’ has pretty much entered the public consciousness to describe an obsessive woman. This is partly why I’ve never bothered to watch it. I felt like I knew all the story beats already as this movie had become so ubiquitous within popular culture. It did, however, feel like a pretty big gap in my film knowledge so I took it for a ride anyway. And I’m glad I did…
Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) is a seemingly happily married man with a perfect family. Following a one night stand with deranged obsessive Alex Forrest (Glenn Close), Dan’s whole life begins to come apart at the seams.
There is a lot to recommend Fatal Attraction. At two hours the pacing is perfect, never once did I feel bored, despite the slightly repetitive nature of the story. Both Douglas and Close are great, as is Anne Archer who provides a wonderful foil for Close’s madcap creation by being pretty much the ideal wife and mother. But as many other films have demonstrated over the years, some guys just can’t control themselves. Dan Gallagher is one of those guys and he pays a heavy price for his lapse in judgement. Whether you think he deserves his fate or not is deliciously left up to the viewer by director Adrian Lyne and writer James Dearden, and this moral ambiguity is key to the fascination around Fatal Attraction. This is a movie that inspires heated discussion even now, all these years later. A powerful film indeed.
It’s preposterous really that it has taken me this long to get round to Fatal Attraction, but for anyone else that is reticent to take the plunge because you think you’ve already seen it all, I would urge you to reconsider. It’s iconic for a reason.