Oh boy, I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been waiting to write this review ever since I did the Leave her to heaven one. I initially wanted to wait till tomorrow to do it but having just watched this excellent thriller again, I feel like I have to do this post like now.
The whole movie doesn’t try to be artistic or deep – it serves it purpose as a thriller about infidelity and obsession, and it delivers. There are a lot of very well directed scenes (thanks to director Adrian Lyne) that are very intense and frightening, such as the suicide scene (the way the blood was smeared across his face really caught me off guard), the kidnapping scene (it could have been silly with the roller coasters, but thanks to the actors and especially Anne Archer’s performance it worked) and yes, the sex scenes. There was nothing romantic or passionate about them if you ask me, it’s like there’s a kind of lingering tension in the air which tells you that whatever this two people are doing, it is not going to end up well. I especially liked how both parties were depicted as the ones at fault, how both parties are flawed, and yet you can sympathize with their plight. Michael Douglas’ Dan seems like a good father and husband, but thanks to Douglas’ portrayal, we sorta understand and can see why he made this incredibly stupid mistake of committing this affair. On one hand, he is a loving and caring family man, but at the same time he is a coward, shirking from his responsibilities and even making outrageous assumptions that Alex wants to abort the baby. That scene was really one of the best parts imo, the way Dan said he’ll pay for the abortion without even asking for her opinion – and her reaction. Creepy.
That being said, the movie doesn’t work with a perfect script, and yet the main problem that I had with this script is probably my favorite part of the movie. It is widely known that Glenn Close had put in an incredible amount of effort in researching for this role (she even consulted psychiatrists), and she herself said that she never saw the character as a villain but a victim. And Close’s acting really shows it. You can see that Alex is a really lonely woman who wants a bit of a passion and love in her life, but ends up being treated like a “slut you can bang a couple of times and throw in the garbage”. And because of this, you sympathize with her, despite knowing that what she did was wrong and inappropriate. What I didn’t like was how the script tried to portray Dan as a hero, while Alex was being treated as a murderous stalking psycho. I can understand why Glenn was so against the ending we all know, instead of the original ending where she kills herself and frame Dan. Yet, Close’s gives her 100% in this role, making the crazy shit the character does frightening and believable. And yes, I thought she was sexy and seductive. It annoys me when people say she is ugly. You think all those people who have affairs end up looking like those SNSD girls!? Look at all the sex scandals in Singapore of late, and you tell me whether those mistresses are conventionally beautiful or not. I feel like my friends will judge me for saying this but I don’t care, I’m saying it anyhow. Maybe I’m saying this because because Glenn Close is one of my favorite actresses, but by the way, she beat many beautiful actresses to this role, so it speaks volumes about her talent. I’d rather take her portrayal over some beautiful but overacting, talentless “actress” (NOT saying that beautiful women cannot act). Ok, it’s all a matter of opinion so I need to calm down. But Glenn Close made this movie in my opinion.
“I’m going to be the mother of your child. I want a little respect.”
I think it’s a bit sad that the people of my generation know Glenn Close as Cruella Deville from 101 Dalmations (which she rocked as). If you look at her body of work, you can see that she is really a terrific Actress with a capital A. People nowadays say that she’s only good at playing scheming women but I wholeheartedly disagree. In fact, she’s just as good, if not better, at playing good characters/victims of the circumstances they’re in. When I watch her unhappy wife portrayal in The Reversal of Fortune, or her suppressed character in Albert Knobbs, I always have no qualms in saying that we are watching one of the greatest screen actresses at work.
The case with Glenn Close is the reason why I find the oscars a bit of a joke and hard to take seriously nowadays (and yet the movie fanatic in me still follows them, sighs). The woman has not 1, but 6 Oscar nominations and no wins till date. I know it’s a very subjective thing, and I thought that Cher was wonderful in Moonstruck, but Glenn’s work here has become so iconic and unforgettable because of how chillingly perfect it is that it just seems like such an obvious choice. I think she was equally deserving for Dangerous Liaisons as well (the whole monologue on how she invented herself is damn chilling). Having said that, I haven’t watched Jodie Foster in The Accused so I can’t judge.
It’s just strange how Julia Roberts has an Oscar (over Ellen Burstyn in Requiem for a dream) and Reese Witherspoon (over Felicity Huffman in Transamerica) and how this superior actress has none. Don’t get me wrong, I do think that those actresses were good in their respective roles though. Look, I’m fine with an average actress wins if her performance is a knockout (I personally loved Natalie Portman’s Black Swan and Halle Berry’s Monster’s Ball) but with Glenn Close’s case it just feels outrageous. I do hope they give her an honorary one though. If you ask me, her 6 nominations without a win speaks volumes over those one hit wonders.
I love how gracious she is when it comes to not winning any oscars though. I also love her real life personality, how classy and intelligent she it, and how she does all these brilliant roles but also know when to have fun (Mars attacks!, 101 Dalmations). This movie legend needs to be talked about more often.
P.s. I’m thinking of doing East of Eden (1955) tomorrow. First movie by the legendary James Dean that I’ve watched and yes, I’m impressed (not blown away though). I’m also very interested in reading the book now.