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  Unfaithful (2002)  
  Rating: (8/10) (1 votes)
Directors: Adrian Lyne
Writers: Alvin Sargent
Claude Chabrol
OMDB: 0351216
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Country: USA, Germany, France
Language: English, French
Duration: 125 min
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 Cast: (all known cast)

Diane Lane Constance 'Connie'/'Con' Sumner
Erik Per Sullivan Charlie Sumner
Richard Gere Edward 'Ed' Sumner
Olivier Martinez Paul Martel
Myra Lucretia Taylor Gloria
Michelle Monaghan Lindsay
Chad Lowe Bill Stone
Joseph Badalucco Jr. Train conductor
Erich Anderson Bob Gaylord
Damon Gupton Other businessman
Kate Burton Tracy
Margaret Colin Sally
Marc Forget Café bartender
Larry Gleason Tim
Dominic Chianese Frank Wilson
 Awards: (awards this movie has receieved)

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 Wikipedia: (detailed information about this entry from Wikipedia)


Theatrical poster
Directed by Adrian Lyne
Produced by Adrian Lyne
Arnon Milchan
G. Mac Brown
Written by Alvin Sargent and William Broyles Jr. (Screenplay)
From La Femme infidèle by Claude Chabrol
Starring Diane Lane
Richard Gere
Olivier Martinez
Music by Jan A.P. Kaczmarek
Cinematography Peter Biziou
Editing by Anne V. Coates
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) May 10, 2002
Running time 124 minutes
Country USA
Language English
Budget $50,000,000
Gross revenue $119,137,784 (Worldwide)
Allmovie profile
IMDb profile

Unfaithful is a 2002 American drama film directed by Adrian Lyne, and adapted by Alvin Sargent and William Broyles Jr. from the French film La Femme infidèle by Claude Chabrol. It is about Constance (Diane Lane) and Edward (Richard Gere), a couple living in the New York City suburbs whose marriage goes dangerously awry when she indulges in an adulterous fling with Paul (Olivier Martinez), a mysterious book dealer.

The filming proved to be challenging for the actors who had to endure smoke being piped in during scenes for 18 to 20 hours a day. During the film's demanding sex scenes, Lyne would film repeated takes often using up a magazine of film at a time. While Diane Lane had no problem with being nude for these scenes, Olivier Martinez was not comfortable with being naked on-camera. The two actors had not met each other before filming and did not get to know each during, mirroring the relationship between their characters.

Based on his experiences with Fatal Attraction, Lyne shot five different endings. The studio did not like his original ending which did not pass moral judgment on the characters; they imposed their own ending, which angered Richard Gere who fought for Lyne's version.

Unfaithful grossed USD $52 million in North America and a total of $119 million worldwide. It received largely mixed to negative reviews, though Lane's performance was much praised. She would go on to win the National Society of Film Critics, the New York Film Critics Circle awards and was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Actress.

[edit] Plot

Constance (Diane Lane) and Edward Sumner (Richard Gere) are a New York suburban couple whose marriage is solid and loving but a little lacking in passion. One day, Connie journeys to Manhattan, but finds herself caught in a windstorm. As she chases after taxis, she bumps into a stranger (Olivier Martinez). They both fall, but Connie scrapes her knees, and the stranger offers to let her use his apartment to clean herself up. At that moment, an empty cab goes by, but Connie accepts the offer instead of heading back to the train station. The stranger introduces himself as Paul Martel, a Frenchman who buys and sells used books. Constance decides that she feels uncomfortable and tells him that she needs to go home. He lets her go but gives her a book of poetry, Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, as a gift.

Later that night, Constance tells her husband about the incident but does not elaborate. The next morning, after Edward and their son Charlie leave, she picks up the poetry book. Paul's business card falls out. She then takes the train into Manhattan again and calls him from Grand Central. He invites her over for coffee. When Constance enters Paul's apartment, he asks her to dance. She is hesitant, decides that it is wrong, and starts to leave the building. But when she has to come back into the apartment because she forgot her coat, Paul grabs her and kisses her, and she responds eagerly.

Paul (Olivier Martinez) and Constance (Diane Lane) share an intimate moment.
Paul (Olivier Martinez) and Constance (Diane Lane) share an intimate moment.

Constance and Paul begin a passionate sexual affair. Edward soon suspects something when his wife increases the frequency with which she visits Manhattan (she uses her work on a charity event as an excuse), and when she no longer seems to be interested in him. Little things imply her infidelity, as when Edward notices that she has removed her wedding ring while doing the dishes. After Edward is given a solid reason to believe that Connie has been lying to him, he hires a detective (Dominic Chianese) to follow her.

The detective returns with pictures of Connie and Paul that devastate Edward. In the meantime, Connie sees Paul with another woman and attacks him, but he denies that the woman is anyone special. She is enraged, but the two make up in bed. Edward decides to visit Paul but is unable to get into the man's apartment. As Edward is about to leave, he sees Connie exit the building, get into her car, and drive off, after which he enters and confronts Paul. Already extremely upset, he is stunned when he sees in Paul's apartment a snow globe that he had given as a special gift to Connie and that she has clearly given to Paul. In a sudden moment of rage, Edward hits Paul with the snowglobe, fracturing his skull and killing him. Edward manages to clean up the blood, wipe his fingerprints from everything he has touched, and wrap Paul's body in a rug. As he works, the phone rings, and Edward hears a message from Connie saying that she must end the affair. Edward erases the message and leaves. He puts Paul's body in the trunk of his car and, later that night, drives it to a dump and leaves it among the garbage.

Later, two police detectives show up at the Sumner home. They explain that Paul's wife had reported him missing and they had found Constance's phone number in his apartment. She claims to have met him only once though expresses surprise that he had a wife. A week later, the detectives return and tell Connie that they have found Paul's body. She becomes very upset but repeats her earlier story while Edward insists that he never met. Later that night, when Constance takes Edward's clothes to the dry cleaners, she finds the private detective's photos and realizes that Edward must have known about the affair. She later discovers that Edward has murdered Paul when she sees that the snow globe she gave to Paul has returned to her home. Edward and Constance confront each other. She burns the photographs and he offers to turn himself in. Constance replies that he shouldn't, that they will get through the crisis together.

Later, Edward and Connie are seen in their car stopped at an intersection, talking about what they should do next. As this conversation proceeds, the traffic lights change several times from red to green and back again. Finally, the camera pulls back to reveal that their car is stopped in front of a police station.

[edit] Production

According to actor Richard Gere, an early draft of the screenplay that he read several years ago presented the Sumners as suffering from a dysfunctional sexual relationship that gave Constance partial justification for having an affair.[1] According to the actor and to director Adrian Lyne, the studio wanted to change the storyline so that the Sumners had a bad marriage with no sex, thereby creating greater sympathy for Constance. Both men were opposed to this change. Lyne felt that the studio's suggestions would have robbed the film of any drama, stating, "I wanted two people who were perfectly happy. I loved the idea of the totally arbitrary nature of infidelity".[1] The Sumners' relationship was rewritten so that they have a good marriage and so that her affair is the result of a chance meeting.[1]

During pre-production, the producers received a video taped audition from Olivier Martinez and he ended up with the part of Paul. His character was not originally envisioned as being French but became so when Martinez was cast.[2] Lyne said, "I think it helps one understand how Connie might have leapt into this affair - he's very beguiling, doing even ordinary things".[2] Once cast in the role, Martinez, with Lyne's approval, changed some of his dialogue and the approach to the scene in which he first seduces Diane Lane's character while she is looking at a book in braille. According to Martinez, "The story that was invented before was much more sensual, erotic and clear".[2] Lyne cast Lane in the role of Constance after seeing her in the film, A Walk on the Moon.[1] He felt that the actress, "breathes a certain sexuality. But she's sympathetic, and I think so many sexy women tend to be tough and hard at the same time".[3] Lyne also wanted Gere and Lane to gain weight in order to reflect the comfort of a middle-age couple. In particular, he wanted Gere to gain 30 pounds and would leave donuts in the actor's trailer every morning.[4]

Richard Gere and director Adrian Lyne on the set of Unfaithful
Richard Gere and director Adrian Lyne on the set of Unfaithful

Lyne asked director of photography Peter Biziou, with whom he made 9 1/2 Weeks with, to shoot Unfaithful.[5] After reading the script, Biziou felt that the story lent itself to the classic 1.85:1 aspect ratio because, "so often has two characters working together in the frame".[5] During pre-production, Biziou, Lyne and production designer Brian Morris used a collection of still photographs as style references. These included photos from fashion magazines and shots by prominent photographers.[5]

Initially, the story was set against snowy exteriors, but this idea was rejected early on.[5] Principal photography started on March 22, 2001 and wrapped on June 1, 2001 with Lyne shooting in continuity whenever possible. Much of the film was shot in Greenwich Village. During the windstorm sequence where Connie first meets Paul, it rained and Lyne used the overcast weather conditions for the street scenes. The director also preferred shooting practical interiors on location so that the actors could "feel an intimate sense of belonging", Biziou recalls. The cinematographer also used natural light as much as possible.[5]

At times, Lyne's style of directing took its toll on the cast and crew. In a scene taking place in an office, the director pumped it full of smoke, an effect that "makes the colors less contrasty, more muted".[1] According to Biziou, "the texture it gives helps differentiate and separate various density levels of darkness farther back in frame".[5] The smoke was piped in for 18 to 20 hours a day and Richard Gere remembers, "Our throats were being blown out. We had a special doctor who was there almost all the time who was shooting people up with antibiotics for bronchial infections". Lane even went so far as to get an oxygen bottle in order to survive the rigorous schedule.[1]

Throughout the film, there are many explicit sex scenes, including a spontaneous tryst in a restaurant bathroom and a rather passionate exchange in an apartment building hallway. All of them were done in a respectful way so as to depict passion, not just nudity. Lyne's repeated takes for these scenes were very demanding for the actors involved, especially for Lane who had to be emotionally and physically fit for the scenes.[1] To prepare for the initial love scene between Paul and Constance, Lyne had Lane and Martinez watch clips from Fatal Attraction, Five Easy Pieces, and Last Tango in Paris.[4] She and Martinez would also talk over the scenes in his trailer beforehand but once on set felt uncomfortable until several takes in.[6] She said, "My comfort level with it just had to catch up quickly - if I wanted to be the actress to play it".[6] Martinez, however, was not comfortable with nudity. The actress said that Lyne would often shoot a whole magazine of film, "so one take was as long as five takes. By the end, you're physically and emotionally shattered".[7] She had not met Martinez before filming and they did not get to know each other well during the shoot, mirroring the relationship between their characters.[8] A full four weeks of the schedule was dedicated to the scenes in Paul's loft, which was located on the third floor of a six-story building located on Greene Street. Biziou often used two cameras for the film's intimate scenes in order to spare the actors any discomfort.[5]

Lyne shot five different endings based on his experiences with Fatal Attraction.[4] According to Lyne, there was some debate with 20th Century Fox who wanted to "make the marriage gray, the sex bad. I fought that. I tried to explore the guilt, the jealousy - that's what I'm interested in".[9] The studio did not like the film's "enigmatic" ending that refused to punish crimes committed by the characters and imposed a "particularly jarring 'Hollywood' final line".[7] Reportedly, this angered Gere, who pushed for the original ending. Following negative reactions from test audiences, the studio reinstated the original ending.[7] However, only weeks before the film was to open in theaters, Lyne asked Gere and Lane to return to Los Angeles for re-shoots for the ending.[1]

[edit] Reception

Unfaithful opened on May 10, 2002 and grossed USD $14 million in 2,617 theaters with an average of $5,374 per screen.[10] It made $52 million in North America and a total of $119 million worldwide, well above its $50 million budget.[10]

The film received largely mixed-to-negative reviews, though Diane Lane earned widespread praise for her performance. It currently has a rating of 47% on Rotten Tomatoes (48% for their "Cream of the Crop" designation). CNN film critic Paul Tatara wrote, "The audience when I saw this one was chuckling at all the wrong times, and that's a bad sign when they're supposed to be having a collective heart attack".[11] Roger Ebert, of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote, "Instead of pumping up the plot with recycled manufactured thrills, it's content to contemplate two reasonably sane adults who get themselves into an almost insoluble dilemma".[12]

The studio took out trade ads and mailed copies of the movie to Academy voters by the end of November, picking out what it called the film's "iconic scene" as the theme of its campaign.[13] The scene in question was when Constance recounts her first tryst with Paul as she takes a train home. The studio took a still from the scene and made it the focus of the campaign. According to Tom Rothman, chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment, "That scene captured the power of her performance. It's what everyone talked about after they saw her".[13] Four days before the New York Film Critics Circle's vote, Lane was given a career tribute by the Film Society of Lincoln Center. A day before that, Lyne held a dinner for the actress at the Four Seasons Hotel. Critics and award voters were invited to both.[13] She went on to win the National Society of Film Critics, the New York Film Critics Circle awards and was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Actress.

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Kobel, Peter. "Smoke to Go With the Steam", New York Times, May 5, 2002. Retrieved on 2008-06-19. 
  2. ^ a b c Topel, Fred. "Olivier Martinez Interview - Unfaithful", Hollywood Movies, 2002. Retrieved on 2007-08-24. 
  3. ^ Wolk, Josh. "Meet Unfaithful's Diane Lane", Entertainment Weekly, 2002. Retrieved on 2007-08-24. 
  4. ^ a b c Whipp, Glenn. "Uncovered", Los Angeles Times, May 10, 2002. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Martin, Kevin H. "Broken Vows", American Cinematographer, June 2002. 
  6. ^ a b Murray, Rebecca. "Diane Lane Interview - Unfaithful", Hollywood Movies, 2002. Retrieved on 2007-08-24. 
  7. ^ a b c Bhattacharya, Sanjiv. "Memory Lane", The Guardian, May 26, 2002. Retrieved on 2007-08-24. 
  8. ^ Iley, Chrissy. "Always In and Out of Passion", The Times, June 10, 2002. 
  9. ^ Wloszczyna, Susan. "Director Adrian Lyne, faithful to sexual themes", USA Today, May 9, 2002. 
  10. ^ a b "Unfaithful", Box Office Mojo, August 24, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-08-24. 
  11. ^ Tatara, Paul. "Sexually charged Unfaithful falls flat", CNN, May 9, 2002. Retrieved on 2007-08-24. 
  12. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Unfaithful", Chicago Sun-Times, May 10, 2002. Retrieved on 2007-10-03. 
  13. ^ a b c Bowles, Scott. "Studio keeps Unfaithful out in open", USA Today, January 15, 2003. Retrieved on 2007-08-24. 

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