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UNFAITHFUL

If only wife and mother Connie Sumner (Diane Lane) had heeded Adrian Lyneís Fatal Attraction, she might have resisted the itch, in Lyneís new film, to wander from her bourgeois nest for a Big Apple shack-up with luscious young Frenchman Paul Martel (Olivier Martinez). Woe to Lyneís adulterers: after the volcanic sex, thereís the eruption. But surely itís a long way from Glenn Closeís nympho/psycho to Connieís doting husband, Ed (Richard Gere) ó or is it? In basing his film closely on Claude Chabrolís 1968 La femme infidèle, Lyne steps with Chabrol into Hitchcock territory: do all of us have the capacity for terrible deeds?

In Chabrolís masterpiece, the couple become human only after blood spills. Here Ed and Connie always seem decent, and itís so hurtful when she loses her feelings for her husband (certainly her sexual desires) as a result of being consumed by her beau de jour. Diane Lane is sensual and all-around great; Gere gives his most poignant performance as the lost husband. For the most part, Unfaithful holds its head up as that rarity, a disturbing, intelligent Hollywood film. Only at the conclusion does it flounder, as Lyne tries out about 14 endings.

BY GERALD PEARY

Issue Date: May 9 - 16, 2002
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