Malice (1993)


Malice is a 1993 American thriller film directed by Harold Becker. The screenplay by Aaron Sorkin and Scott Frank is based on a story by Jonas McCord.


Andy (Bill Pullman) and Tracy Safian (Nicole Kidman) are a happily married couple living in a Victorian house they are restoring in the Boston suburbs. He is the Associate Dean at the local college, while his wife teaches art to children. When a student is attacked in her home by what appears to be a serial rapist, her life is saved by Dr. Jed Hill (Alec Baldwin), a newly arrived doctor at the area hospital. Andy recognizes Jed from their high school days and invites him to rent the third floor of their home in order to finance the new plumbing. With his propensity to bring home sexual partners and to party late into the night, he quickly proves himself to be a less than ideal tenant. When student Paula Bell (Gwyneth Paltrow) is attacked and killed, Andy finds her body in the garden behind her home, prompting detective Dana Harris (Bebe Neuwirth) to view him as a possible suspect. While at the police station delivering a semen sample, Andy learns his wife has been hospitalized. Jed discovers Tracy is pregnant and notices her ovaries are torsed and appear necrotic. Over the protests of the other doctors, he opts not to wait for test results and advises Andy to agree to the removal of Tracy's ovaries. During the surgery, the fetus aborts. When Jed later is told the ovaries were healthy, he decides that, rather than bury the report, he will face the consequences of his actions. At a deposition, Jed's attorney Lester Adams (Josef Sommer) learns his client had been drinking prior to the surgery. His case is not helped when Jed, during his testimony, grandiosely compares himself to God. His insurance company settles with Tracy for $20 million, and she leaves Andy, whom she blames for the loss of her ovaries. Andy accidentally discovers that the serial rapist is Earl Leemus (Tobin Bell), the college handyman, and apprehends him. Dana reports Andy's semen sample indicated he is sterile and couldn't have fathered Tracy's child. Andy confronts Tracy's lawyer, Dennis Riley (Peter Gallagher), and accuses him of having impregnated Tracy and colluded with her. Riley denies everything and reveals Tracy's mother, whom Andy had been told was dead, might be able to offer him some insight. Mrs. Kennsinger (Anne Bancroft) tells Andy the truth about her supposedly sweet daughter: the woman is a con artist. She tells him she had a relationship with a wealthy man who paid her to have an abortion, but Tracy kept the money and had it done illegally. Her mother also confirms Andy's suspicion that Tracy was pregnant by a Dr. David Lilianfield, who ultimately proves to be Jed, and Andy tracks them to a house where the two are living together. Back at home, Andy discovers a hypodermic needle containing the fertility drug Perganol. He learns an excess amount of the drug can cause the pain, and he realizes she deliberately created her illness with Jed's help. An angry Andy confronts Tracy and tells her he wants half the money from the settlement. He also tells her that if he should meet with an unexpected death a letter will immediately be sent to the police department notifying them of the existing witness. He implies that there was a witness to her trysts with Jed; and also to Jed injecting her with Perganol which in high dosages can cause ovarian cysts. He states that the young boy next door; whom they never met but who they frequently saw sitting at his bedroom window, watched everything. Tracy tells Jed about Andy's demands and he tells her to give him what he wants. She refuses and says that she earned that money and that there was no way she was splitting it three ways. Tracy tells Jed that they have to get rid of the witness because that is the only bargaining chip that Andy has on them. He refuses. She attempts to pressure him into it by reminding him of his removing her ovaries. Jed attempts to walk away, but Tracy pulls a gun and shoots him. Tracy lures Andy away from his house, waits until the nurse next door leaves, then breaks in and tries to smother the boy. When she wraps the cellophane around his face from behind she realizes that its a dummy. Andy surprises her and they fight until Detective Harris, who was disguised as the nurse, returns and arrests Tracy. As Tracy is led away she sees the boy and his mother return. It is revealed that the boy is, in fact, blind.