A perfect life isn’t everything that it’s cracked up to be. A really expensive house; successful jobs that bring in enough money to always live comfortably; reliable and expensive cars that will take you anywhere you want to go; vacation destinations already reserved for years to come in exotic and unique destinations – what more could you ask for in a marriage then all of this? Well, maybe a little love and attention so that the spark will always be there and to make sure that this perfect life is built on more then just material possessions and a certain way of living. Into each life a little trouble must fall and into each relationship, someone else will always come along.
Connie Sumner (Diane Lane) has a pretty good life being married to her husband Edward (Richard Gere) and having their eight-year-old Charlie in what appears to be a pretty happy life except for how routine and almost boring everything has gotten. Day in and day out is exactly the same. Ed goes to work, Charlie goes to school, and Connie runs some errands until everyone comes home for boring conversation around the dinner table. Everything is in its dull little place until that one day a strong gust of wind changed their lives forever. Connie’s belongings flew out of her hands and down the street right into the arms and eyes of book lover Paul Martel (Oliver Martinez). Things would never be the same for either Connie or Ed that day even though it was only she that had met the handsome gentleman.
Soon after their chance meeting, Paul and Connie start a close friendship that is not only kept in secret but turns out to be much more then she could have ever imagined. What started as a friendly meeting has turned into an affair of passion, lust, heat, and unbridled sex that Connie has been missing from her life for oh so long. Instead of pulling herself away from the dangerous situation; she continues to see Paul when she knows she should end is as soon as possible. Her life has become nothing more than an obsession with her new lover and soon her wife and motherly duties at home are being neglected and that’s not going unnoticed. Ed begins to suspect something is up with Connie and soon learns of her affair with the handsome stranger and feels the pain, hurt, sadness that would come with the betrayal of a loved one. Before long though, Ed begins to feel anger and hostility that he never knew he possessed inside of him. It is then that the lives of the Sumners would soon be changed again.
Unfaithful is a love story that goes off into a morbid destination that I don’t think anyone really saw coming. Hearing the title of the film; you automatically know that someone is going to have an affair of some sort and put their relationship in jeopardy. I don’t think anyone expected Diane Lane to end up in softcore porn that is much better then anything Cinemax or old school, late night Showtime could ever produce. It must boggle the mind of many other people to see Richard Gere go off the deep end the way he does here as if he and Lane are actually married and someone touched his wife. Unfaithful is a fantastic film for many reasons, but it has to be the performances of both Lane and Gere that set it apart from past releases that tried to bring infidelity to the forefront. They are just so incredibly believable and you can’t help but be jealous of and feel the passion between Paul and Connie while it’s impossible not to feel sorrow for and experience the rage that stews from Edward.
This is a film I saw in theatres back in 2002 when my life was at the tender and naive age of twenty-three. I recall thinking back then that Unfaithful was such a hot and intense film that made me look at Diane Lane in a whole new light because she was just so very sexy in it. That still holds true today, but now I see Unfaithful for the sexiness, the intensity, the drama, the love, the lust, the anger, the rage, the sorrow, the heat, and so much more. It delivers a message that is both encouraging and frightening. Never take your significant other for granted no matter how long you may be together because the human emotions inside and the animal instincts will find their way out into the open. And never underestimate the power of loneliness because it can be something that is very hurtful for those that are experiencing it and those that are causing it.
Unfaithful is presented in 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format and it actually looks quite beautiful for such a dark and gloomy film. Don’t expect bright colors really anywhere because the mood of the film is very dark and disturbing so they kept the colors to match the ambience. But things look really good here.
The film is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and it is masterfully done. All dialogue can be heard very nicely whether it is a simple conversation, a screaming match, or whispering to one another. The surround sound is mostly used for the fantastic score that helps deliver an even more sultry and intense mood.
Audio Commentary – Director Adrian Lyne is a solo commentator here and he does a pretty decent job of giving some extra information into this overly serious film. The plot of Unfaithful is incredibly deep and a very touchy subject so Lyne goes into how they wanted to make the mood as intense as possible. He also discusses working with the actors to make sure the right emotions always came across. A rather enjoyable commentary track that verges on the line of being dull from time to time but never quite crosses it.
Scene Specific Actor’s Commentary – Diane Lane and Olivier Martinez is an interesting commentary track in that almost the entire focus is on the character of Connie Sumner. Both Lane and Martinez discuss how she did almost a complete 360 loop around from who she is at the beginning of the film to turning into a woman fueled by lust and back to her everyday woman. But the different at the end is that she’s had the experience and kind of realizes that she is better off in her life with her family, or is she? It’s a fun track that should be listened to so that it can really be appreciated.
Deleted Scenes – There are eleven deleted scenes that were correctly left out because I just don’t see how they would have really fit into the finished production. Lyne provides optional commentary and gives good opinions arguing both sides as to why they should have or shouldn’t have been in the finished film.
The Charlie Rose Show – Actors Richard Gere and Diane Lane join with Lyne for a fun interview together talking about the film. It’s a rather enjoyable discussion that makes it seem like they truly enjoyed shooting the film and their time together on the set. (18:52)
An Affair To Remember – Here is a behind the scenes piece that includes Gere, Lane, and Lyne to go over their thoughts on the storyline of Unfaithful and also some stories from time on the set. Nothing big. (15:49)
Editing Featurette – Editor Anne Coats sits down in a very interesting featurette that you don’t usually find on many home releases. She goes into how she edited particular scenes and determining what would be kept in or left out or spliced together. I rather enjoyed this one a lot. (8:54)
Director’s Script Notes
Unfaithful is one of those films that makes you feel so romantic, so sexy, so distraught, and so uncomfortable all throughout the course of its duration. It tells a great story with a few little twists and turns that will have you shocked and appalled all at the same time. Putting two feel-good performers like Richard Gere and Diane Lane into the starring roles makes the film that much better because here you have one of them committing adultery and one committing murder. Not something you would normally see from either one of those two, but they pull them off without a hitch. The special features come through delivering a good bit of behind the scenes stuff too and even though they’re kind of repetitive, they never really get dull and that’s a plus. Unfaithful will provide you with not only an evening of entertainment, but also with an uneasy that will surely have you looking at your significant other with a curious eye.
20th Century Fox presents Unfaithful. Directed by: Adrian Lyne. Starring: Richard Gere, Diane Lane, Olivier Martinez, Erik Per Sullivan. Written by: Alvin Sargent & William Broyles Jr.. Running time: 120 minutes. Rating: R. Released on DVD: January 20, 2009. Available at Amazon.com