Fatal Attraction (1987)

(On TV, December 2016) Both hilarious and a bit terrifying, Fatal Attraction’s story of adultery gone horribly wrong still rings as a cautionary tale thirty years later. Peak-era Michael Douglas stars as a lawyer who starts an affair with a dangerously obsessive woman (Glenn Close, more scary than sexy even in lingerie) and nearly loses everything in the process. The rather endearing term “bunny boiler” comes from this film, along with a substantial amount of reactionary emotions. Is it an anti-feminism tale, or the kind of story that men tell themselves in order to keep themselves in check? Who knows—what’s for sure is that this is as pure an erotic thriller as Hollywood was capable of turning out back then (I don’t think it can do anything like this any more)—the early sex scenes definitely have some heat to them, and the latter suspense moments do get ridiculously intense. With time, the lines that the movie draws for itself become blurry—a modern take would probably empathize more with Close’s characters. But, of course, such a modern take would quickly fade away—the point of Fatal Attraction’s enduring popularity is that it is extreme and black-and-white and scary and cautionary. Otherwise, why bother … and shouldn’t Hollwyood take note of that?

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