This isn’t a topic that goes without a strong point of view usually, and even in writing and developing this list, I found my own observations to be quite different that I had imagined. Years ago, young, naive, and hopeful, the usual denials of those already “IN” the committed relationships, you hope that these movies, these stories are different people that are jaded and bad, but after compiling this list and having lived enough life to know better what I found most intriguing about each of these films and characters, though situations so drastically different, was that the “cheaters”, the supposed bad guys, aren’t actually bad at all. They’re just normal people that are making choices in each of their situations, and unfortunately those choices end badly. But sometimes the story isn’t about the journey, it’s about where you end up. Here are my choices for those films that I think have really shown great different perspectives on affairs.
” Deception is brutal, I’m not pretending otherwise. “
Julia Roberts and Jude Law’s characters have an affair over the span of many years with their spouses miserable over it. The depreciation of all of their relationships begins with the first lie, and even though certain urges are ignored things spiral out of control when eventually everyone compromises their morals, save the catalyst for the tale played by Law. Clive Owens character has the most to say, and the largest pawn in the mess, and the rest become victims of their own choices.
9. EYES WIDE SHUT
“No dream is ever just a dream. “
Cruises character goes on a night of sexual exploration after his wife confesses to him that she contemplated having an affair the year before. Relationships, sex, and fidelity are all exploited in this racy and controversial film. The end has seemed a puzzle to many people, but I like to think after Cruises journey, he’s even more committed to his wife and now they are on the same wavelength. Life just isn’t black and white.
8. A WALK ON THE MOON
Diane Lane plays Pearl, a young mother with a husband who is rarely home do to work. She gets wrapped up in her solitude and meets a mysterious sexy man played by Viggo. They have an affair that summer, and as proven by all these noted films doesn’t go without consequence. The sadness of Pearl only disappears when she’s with the Blouse Man, and even though what she is doing is wrong, it’s apparent where her crumbling into the arms of Viggo makes sense.
Julianne Moore’s character develops paranoia that her husband is having an affair, and hires a prostitute to catch him in the act, somewhere along the way she finds herself having an affair with the young and beautiful seductress. A strong and intelligent woman played by Moore, falling prey to simple insecurities shows that anyone can be lost in a relationship, and how even the strongest most confident of people can find weakness in themselves.
6. FATAL ATTRACTION
An elicit affair that one party ends when the other isn’t ready is never going to end well, and Glenn Closes character Alex makes it clear that Michael Douglas won’t forget her. If you’re going to have a passionate sexy affair, I’d recommend considering your partner a little more carefully than Douglas here.
5. LITTLE CHILDREN
In suburbia, a stay at home mom meets a stay at home dad and both connect in the realization that their mundane lives are not what they had intended. The only solace each of them find is in each other. The best part of the movie for me is when Winslet talks about Madame Bovary being a feminist in a way, and dumbfounding all the women in her group. It was the most I connected with her character.
4. THE GOOD GIRL
“As a girl you see the world as a giant candy store filled with sweet candy and such. But one day you look around and you see a prison and you’re on death row. You wanna run or scream or cry but something’s locking you up. Are the other folks cows chewing cud until the hour comes when their heads roll? Or are they just keeping quiet like you, planning their escape. “
I think what Justine hits on here is what girls who think that there is a prince charming and they are a princess will realize, is love and reality are not anything close to the ideals childhood promises fail to keep. When she searches for that hope, she goes to a young guy that still exudes those hopes and dreams, only to realize it’s not just her husband that’s a disappointment, it’s life.
” I don’t want you to save me. I don’t need to be saved. “
The small town girl who feels like she has no power over her life finds solace in the charming and handsome Nathan Fillion, who is also in a relationship. While men and women alike may disapprove of their choices, this is actually a really great story about a girl who finally finds her voice, and the person who needs to love her the most is herself. One of the few movies I’ve listed that didn’t end badly.
2. A PERFECT MURDER
“That’s not happiness to see me is it? “
An affair gone terribly wrong, Gwen has her sexy time with Viggo the perpetual “other man” on this list, while Douglas has put the shoe on the other foot discovering his wife’s affair and has decided to kill her to punish her for it. This one isn’t about love, so much as it’s about power.
“We could end this now and nobody would get hurt.”
The ultimate film of passion, jealously, and rage. Both Lane and Gere play their parts convincingly and make you understand the hows and the why’s something like this could happen and where a crime of passion from such a passive normal guy could come from. Ultimately, someone does always get hurt in these situations. Usually everyone.
Remember, we here at Man, I Love Films don’t do definitive lists. We do our favorites and we want to hear yours. So, make sure and tell us about them in the comments section below.