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Unfaithful

The review in the NY Times was good. I looked forward to some raw scenes of gritty reality, and a different side of Mr. Gere.

The second we did see. No preening ladies' man, Gere in this film is instead the faithful, reliable, loving husband. He's attractive (in his way; I have never much liked those beady eyes), attentive, aware of his wife's beauty.

It is this last that strikes me most. Diane Lane is indeed a beautiful woman, and the film makers made sure we knew it. From the first, when she is literally blown around the city of New York, where we can see her skirt thrown up, revealing her flawless long legs, we are mindful of her looks. As for what else there is:

She is a rich charity volunteer, well-dressed and capable, like so many other women on this circuit. She spends her days organizing auctions, attending meetings, getting facials and spending money on clothes. Whether she is dressed as the little woman at home or the vamp with her lover, her taste is impeccable and shows off her features nicely.

Is this why she suddenly falls for the buff young man with the French accent, whose huge borrowed living room is full of books? Is it because she doesn't feel appreciated? I hardly think so. Her husband can't get enough of her. Is it, then, as is suggested, that she wants some excitement and danger in her life? Maybe. The type lover she finds is daring and demanding, and these two words wouldn't apply to Gere's character.

She does try not to start the affair, and later, to end it, but each time she is persuaded back into her lover's arms. And that's the whole of the thing: sex. She's enjoying the sex.

Presumably this is a new twist, because she's a woman. And she does torture herself over it, sitting on the train on the way home remembering the sex, alternating between agony and - yeah - ecstasy. One almost expects someone across the aisle to say, "I'll have what she's having".

Her husband suspects. His suspicions lead to investigation, and later, to an encounter with the suave Frenchman. The confrontation is at first unusual, in that Gere's character is calm, if boiling underneath, and the conversation is funny. This promised to be a better twist, one I could have walked away with, remembering fondly. But it did not end funny. And from then on it seemed like the movie was dragging out to some kind of inevitable conclusion, too long and too predictable.

The characters are caricatures, not full humans. The story is not new. The sex scenes are steamy but...so what...how often have we seen these perfect bodies pushed against each other? For me it was so much rehash. I got the sense it struck the other moviegoers in a similar way. Wait for the video. Better yet, don't bother at all.

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