The anti-affair preventive medicine you want to show your partner asap.
British director Adrian Lyne (9 1/2 Weeks) is famous for his uncompromising treatment of seedy eroticism and charged stories. Fatal Attraction is a staple of the erotic thriller genre and with good reason, it's steamy and very 1980s in the best possible way. Like a good vintage, it has the whiff of old times, but with the pleasure of a spectacle that belongs to the past. That's the lens through which you can view the story of a deranged mistress who won't stop at anything to ruin your life and marriage, and still savour some sanity in the 21st century. Seen from a slightly removed perspective, the film becomes a stylized variation on conservative AIDS panic and a provocation to conservative heteronormativity. It has to be said that not all of the film has aged well, especially the gender politics at play. But if you can soothe yourself with a revisionist reading, it pairs well with Paul Verhoeven's Basic Instinct: the things Michael Douglas's characters do for (extramarital) thrills...
Even though Glenn Close was nominated for an Oscar for the role of Alex, she tried to protest against the vilifying of her character. Alex Forrest symbolized a man's biggest nightmare and the audiences loved to see her suffer. In this case, the Oscar nomination might have been a sort of a poison chalice: Close was celebrated for a villain role she never aligned with. That said, her Alex is stupendous, a woman full of energy and vigor, a darting eye and actually, a truth speaker. Today, the monologues where she accuses Dan of using her and turning against her because she demands respect she rightfully deserves, ring true and resemble less a rant than a necessary calling out. Today, Alex Forrest deserves reappraisal as a character who protested the chains of patriarchy and projected male desire that early on.