A/V Room









Could you be Unfaithful? Putting fidelity to the test

Feature by: Jack Foley

WOULD you be unfaithful? Yes? No? Maybe? It is something that is impossible to deny. People may claim that they could remain faithful - but what if temptation was put in your path. What if, what if, what if…

For Richard Gere, who plays the wronged husband in Adrian Lyne’s latest sex thriller Unfaithful, the issue is not as simple as a mere yes or no. Speaking at a press conference at London’s Dorchester Hotel on Wednesday, June 5, the actor said that even if you ‘play by the rules, the universe has its own rules and they will screw you up every time’.

It is an answer which certainly applies to Diane Lane’s character in the movie. She is happily married, she has a good sex life; so why would she risk it all after a chance encounter with Olivier Martinez’s mysterious French stranger.

Director Lyne suggests it is because it creates more drama and because, occasionally, it happens.

"I always wanted them to have a nice place, for them to be happy together and for the sex to be good, so that there would be no possible reason for her to have an affair.

"There was a lot of discussion with the studio at the beginning about making this about a marriage that wasn't working and I thought, well, where’s the drama in that? If it was a crappy marriage and the sex was no good, of course she should have an affair; but what was more interesting was that she had no possible reason for it."

It is a view shared by Lane who feels that one of the larger issues the film touches on is the ‘betrayal of trust’ which takes place as a result of her character’s actions.

On-screen, it makes for compelling viewing, provoking an intriguing moral debate which should certainly fuel many a conversation long after the final reel. Not convinced? Then consider this anecdote from Lyne.

"Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic but I’ve always thought that you could love somebody for two minutes," he said. "Literally, you could meet someone for two minutes and be hopelessly in love with them and then, bang, they’re gone.

"And I think this was a little bit like that, when she sees him at the top of those steps with those books and her head is saying ‘don’t even think about going up there’ but she does. I think a lot of people would have done the same and I don’t necessarily think that makes them bad people."


In Lane’s case, of course, it probably helps that the person in question looks like Martinez - a point quickly seized upon by one of the female journalists present - but it certainly opens the door to several repercussions; none of which lead to a happy ending.

Unfaithful does not disappoint - although it is at this point that those who have not yet seen the movie should stop reading.

Lane’s affair is discovered by Gere who, in turn, finds and confronts Martinez; a meeting which forces Gere to confront a darker, perhaps unknown, side to his character. For Gere, it is these actions which pose another of the movie’s many moral conundrums.

He maintains that at the beginning of the movie, the people portray a ‘lack self knowledge about their shadow sides; they don’t know how far they can go out of control’.

"These people understand the depths of possibilities inside them by the end of the film, therefore that self knowledge relates to empathy for each other which obviously is the basis for intimacy, real intimacy, and therefore you get forgiveness.

"They are both able to forgive each other because they know what’s inside themselves and, in a larger context, I found it interesting that they will probably emerge as better citizens because they will understand people who are out of control."

Whether this newfound understanding can form the basis for a continued relationship is yet another of the movie’s talking points - and one which, thankfully, the audience is left to decide for itself.

The ending of the film is deliberately ambiguous even though it was not the one the studio had initially rooted for. As Lyne points out, the studio wanted some form of ‘closure’, while test audiences preferred the ambiguity of what remains.

"It just seemed a lot more interesting to leave it up to the audience," he added. "I tried to make the other ending work but I felt the present conclusion created the potential for more discussion at the end, which I always like."

Whether he has succeeded is something only the audience can decide, but judging by the reaction the film has already had in the United States, he has got tongues wagging. Which brings us to the original question? Would you be unfaithful, given the opportunity? Answers on a postcard.



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