Slate Magazine discusses the cultural impact of the film.
One subsequent viewings of this film, as much as I enjoy Glenn's wonderful OTT performance (she got robbed at the Oscars IMO), what bothers me is how Dan Gallagher doesn't really suffer - it's the women in his life that pay the price for his actions.Next to the stud horse whose decapitated head winds up in the bed in The Godfather, the most famous mistreated pet in the history of film may be the white rabbit in Fatal Attraction. Those who saw the movie when it was released 25 years ago this week will recall how the crazy bitch stalking the married man kills his kid’s bunny and sets it boiling on the stove. The good wife lifts the lid of the pot to a pretty tasteful reveal—a clipped overhead shot of fur, a discreet dab of blood—and she screams, along with the audience, even though everyone surely knew what was coming.
The “bunny boiler” remains a potent archetype of a dangerous, predatory woman, her mental state as screwy as the coils of her permed hair. Don’t believe her when she claims she’s just after a night of mutual pleasure. This vagina dentata will ruin your life and is emphatically not worth the five minutes of sizzling sex at the kitchen sink.
Fatal Attraction was nominated for six Oscars (including best picture), earned more than $150 million, and was the subject of intense debate about whether its message was offensively sexist. You’d think that a quarter-century later the movie’s melodrama about the dangers of straying would have badly dated. You’d be wrong. Fatal Attraction still expresses our Puritan queasiness about sexual desire much better than the swarm of stalker rip-offs that it has spawned—as well as our insistence on blaming the skank for any threat to marital fidelity.The wife almost loses her life becuase of the mistress' actions. Even his young daughter is traumatized by the death of her pet, and left bewildered and confused as to the hows and whys. What does Dan get, other than a couple of knees to the groin and some knife cuts? He gets to screw around and deceive his wife. He gets steak at home and goes out for hamburger. And why does Dan cheat in the first place when he has such a sexy (and conventionally beautiful) wife? Does it prove that men, when given the opportunity, screw anything that moves?
SpoilerThe mistress, of course, dies.
I actually thought Unfaithful was a better film. Not as blatantly manipulative and certainly more nuanced.When Lyne revisited the theme of superbad, A-on-the-forehead adultery in 2002 in the far less successful Unfaithful—this time the wife cheats, with equally disastrous results—Richard Gere plays the Everyman. What woman in her right mind would betray such a soulful-yet-sexy guy? And with a sleazy Frenchman, no less?
But do you think FA has held up well? Discuss.