After catching up on two hours of “True Blood” recently I watched 2002’s Unfaithful on HBO for the first time in years. It’s a great tale about seduction, adultery, mystery, murder and redemption. Connie (Diane Lane) and Ed (Richard Gere) Sumner are a happily married couple living in New York suburbs with a child. They have a healthy relationship in what seems like all regards. After a chance encounter with a young, sexy Spanish-type man named Paul (Oliver Martinez) Connie starts thinking about having a more adventurous life.
Connie and Paul start an affair. Of course, what Connie thought was harmless sex turned into an intense affair that “ended disastrously.” Ed finds out about the affair through the very unsubtle signs from Connie that something was up. He confronts Paul and the encounter changes everyone’s life. That’s all I’ll say.
Diane Lane’s portrayal of Connie was so heartfelt and true to life as a viewer you empathized with her. You wanted her to have a thrilling time with Paul and then help her son with school work. She just dove in too hard and let her impulses take hold and bring her down. Lane won the Oscar for best actress in a lead role in 2003. She was such a sensitive, nuanced actress in this film.
Richard Gere’s character was also very relatable. He had so much love for his wife and family that despite the betrayal he just wanted things to go back to normal. Which was made impossible by his visit to Paul. The ending of the film is very open-ended. In the real world, if the movie continued it wouldn’t have ended well for the family. But it’s a movie, so of course the family stays together in the end. Oliver Martinez was great in the film. Even though he was an important character, he didn’t seem to have many speaking roles. He was very alluring to Connie and even when Ed visited him, Paul seemed to have a way with influencing him.
Chad Lowe, Michelle Monaghan, and Erik Per Sullivan (“Malcolm in the Middle”) had very small roles. Writer William Broyles Jr. has written pieces such as Castaway and Jarhead. Same goes for co-writer Alvin Sargent. He’s brought us Spider-Man 2 and 3, and Anywhere But Here. From looking at director Adrian Lyne’s resume, it’s obvious to see that he’s got a thing for plots surrounding sexual desire. He’s directed Lolita, Nine 1/2 Weeks, Fatal Attraction and Indecent Proposal. He does a great job showing both the original justification from the character for their actions and their retrospect regret as well. He seems to do it in a way that the viewer doesn’t know his bias.