Professing * Reflecting

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Oh dear god HOW did this movie escape my gaze for so long?

I actually do know why it took 5 years before I would watch Unfaithful. 1) I tend not to like movies about infidelity, because such movies tend to demonize anyone or anything that threatens the heteronormative cocoon of the young family (Fatal Attraction being the ├╝ber example) and to privilege the heteronormative cocoon as all that is good and fulfilling and meaningful in the world; 2) That one character Diane Lane plays in all her movies? Reserved, guarded beauty who needs to be drawn out by men far more passionate than she? Yeah. I find it annoying. I know, I know. She's a great actress yadda yadda she's the real deal yadda she's nuanced and intriguing and REAL blah blah blah. So sue me.

I did like this movie. Although it does all the normal stuff with the young family cocoon and in the end moralizes monogamy by telling us cheating leads to shame, guilt, child neglect, violence, death, and murder, I did love that Connie sleeps with Paul Martel not because she is dissatisfied with her life or her marriage or her husband but because Paul Martel is charming and attractive and she wants to have a lot of sex with him.

And also?



Do we want this NOT to happen? No, no we do not not want this to happen. We, the viewers, want this to happen on screen more than once and in fact as often as possible. And I refuse to think that we are completely on board with the melodrama of the consequences. In fact, I almost think it wants to be comic in its over-the-top third act. The snow globe? The elevator stalling? The "can I help you with that, buddy" as the body is stuffed into a car in Soho? The random rear-ending and trunk malfunctioning of the Mercedes with dead body in the school parking lot after the son's play (in which the son's a bunny)? Have you ever seen so much attention paid to a body in a rug in a drama? I mean, I know Connie objectifies Paul. I know I objectify Paul. (Where did this Olivier Martinez come from and where is he now and why in God's name is that place not my bed?) But he is literally turned into an object, and I would say an (intentionally or not) comic one.

All of this said, I can't think of a more enjoyable movie to watch late at night after a long day of writing. Here's my final takeaway: 1. Don't cheat. 2. It's awesome to have sex with a Frenchman in a room FULL OF BOOKS!! 3. It's morally wrong to want to live in the city. 3. BOOKS AND SEX! 4. It's morally right to want to live in the suburbs. 4. BOOKS EVERYWHERE! 4. Don't forget going into the city to work even part-time is dangerous; 5. SEX EVERYWHERE! 6. When you get caught up in the winds of New York City, you want to have sex; 7. Having sex with anyone other than your husband makes you a bad mother and a bad driver; 8. Cheaters and murderers take a lot of baths and showers; 9. Especially don't cheat on Richard Gere; 10. My Gael is in danger of being replaced in my imagination by Olivier Martinez, if only for a time.

OK, while breaks like these are a necessary part of the writing process, I must get back to it. I leave you with a difficult choice, the kind of cruel cruel choice mandated by the heternormative machine.








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