Unfaithful (2002)


Unfaithful is a 2002 American erotic drama film directed by Adrian Lyne and starring Richard Gere, Diane Lane and Olivier Martinez. It was adapted by Alvin Sargent and William Broyles Jr. from the French film The Unfaithful Wife (1968) (La Femme infidèle) by the noted director Claude Chabrol. It tells about a couple living in suburban New York City whose marriage goes dangerously awry when the wife indulges in an adulterous fling with a stranger she encounters by chance in Manhattan. The production was unusual for its demanding and extended sex scenes shot through smoke. Lyne shot a total of five endings, based on his experience with the controversial content of Fatal Attraction. Unfaithful grossed $52 million in North America and a total of $119 million worldwide. Despite mixed to negative reviews overall, Lane received much praise for her performance. She won awards for best actress from the National Society of Film Critics and New York Film Critics, and was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Actress.


Connie Sumner (Lane) and Edward Sumner (Gere) are a couple who live in suburban New York City. Their marriage is solid and loving but lacking passion. One day, Connie journeys into the city, where she is caught in a windstorm. As she seeks a taxi, she bumps into a stranger (Martinez). They both fall and Connie scrapes her knees. The stranger offers to let her use his apartment to clean 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. When Martel makes small advances toward her, Connie becomes uncomfortable and decides to leave . He lets her go but gives her a book of Persian poetry, Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam as a gift. Later that night, Connie mentions the incident to her husband. The next morning, after Edward and their son Charlie (Sullivan) leave, she picks up the poetry book. Paul's business card falls out. She takes the train into the city again and calls him from Grand Central Station. He invites her over for coffee. He makes her coffee and shows her how to read a book in braille. But when Paul begins caressing her hands, Connie decides to leave. Later that night, Connie seems distracted, obviously thinking about Paul. The next morning she shows up at his door. When Connie enters Paul's apartment, he asks her to dance. She obliges and they begin flirting with each other. As the record they are dancing to begins to skip, she decides that what they are doing is a mistake. Paul tells her, "There is no such thing as a mistake. There is what you do and what you don't do." Connie replies, "I can't do this," and starts to leave the building. But when she has to come back into the apartment for her coat, Paul grabs her and kisses her and then they engage in intercourse. Connie and Paul begin a passionate sexual affair. Edward soon suspects something when his wife increases the frequency of her visits to Manhattan. She uses her work on a charity event as an excuse, but Edward finds holes in her stories when he speaks with mutual friends. She shows less interest in him, i.e., removing her wedding ring to wash the dishes. Eventually, one of Edward's business partners catches a glimpse of Connie and Paul fawning over each other in a cafe and tells Edward, who hires a detective (Chianese) to follow Connie. On a day when Edward was out of town, Connie and Paul enjoyed time in a movie theatre, leading her to forget to pick up her son from the school. The detective returns with pictures of Connie and Paul, which devastate Edward. Connie sees Paul with another woman and attacks him, but he denies that the woman is special. She is enraged and they begin to fight in his building, but their anger turns into passion . Edward decides to visit Paul's apartment but leaves when unable to enter, and misses seeing Connie leave. He returns moments later, gets in and confronts Paul. Already upset, he is stunned to see a snow globe there, which he recognizes as his own gift to Connie. Paul says that Connie bought it for him as a gift, and Edward hits the other man with the globe and kills him. Edward cleans up the blood, wipes away his fingerprints and wraps Paul's body in a rug. As he works, the phone rings, and Edward hears Connie leaving a message that she must end the affair. Edward erases the message and leaves, putting the body in his car's trunk. Later that night, he drops it off at a dump. Two police detectives arrive at the Sumner home. They explain that Paul's wife had reported him missing and they had found Connie's phone number in his apartment. She claims to have met him only once. A week later, the detectives return and tell Connie that they found Paul's body. She becomes upset while repeating her earlier story; Edward backs her up and adds that he never met Paul. Later that night, collecting Edward's clothes for the dry cleaner's, Connie finds the private detective's photos and realizes that Edward knows about the affair. She concludes that he murdered Paul after noticing the snow globe has been returned to their home. Underneath the globe, she discovers a hidden compartment containing a photograph of her, Edward and Charlie, with an anniversary message from Edward, which causes Connie to cry. Edward and Connie confront each other. She burns the photographs; he offers to turn himself in. Connie rejects this and insists they will get through the crisis together. Later the couple are shown in their car stopped at an intersection, debating their next move; outside, the traffic lights change several times from red to green and back. The camera pulls back to reveal their car in front of a police station.