We Love Films About Infidelity

Top 5 Films About Infidelity…

A scene from Eyes Wide Shut

It is probably apt, to save myself from being shunned by society like Hester Prynne, to point out that the subject of this particular blog post was inspired a conversation I once had with a friend. I am not having an afair, nor am I planning to have one at this juncture – albeit, if I was, it would hardly be declared on the world wide web. Anyhow, I digress. My friend and I were at the Eric Roberson concert at the Indig-o2, and as much as I adore Eric Roberson and as much as I loved the concert, I was slightly disappointed by the fact that he didn’t perform my favourite song off his Music Fan First album, titled A Tale of Two. The song is about cheating, which got my friend and I talking on the topic of songs concerned about being unfaithful. ‘Have you noticed that the best songs are about cheating?’ I asked her. Well, have you noticed?

My partner and I came home from a night at McQueen last Saturday, both falling asleep in the taxi home. We got in and switched on the TV to our delight to find Adrian Lyne‘s Unfaithful on. Regardless of how many times we have both seen the film and regardless of how tired we both were, Unfaithful kept us up, watching the entire film and then discussing it after it had finished.

The world cannot deny it, we Adore a Love Story just as much as we Lust after a tale debauchery and affairs. There is something unmistakably fantastic and brave, but mostly, disturbingly interesting about those who have no qualms with honouring their carnal desires. Particularly when it causes one to throw all caution to the wind and compromise the ‘harmonious unity’ they have created with a significant other, to enter a world which is often unstable, turbulent and created off the back of hurt and betrayal. Films, novels and songs concerned with lust and infedility are interesting because, as though by natural reflex, they instantaneously engage us and they instantly force us on this trail of thought, which probably resembles something like this… ‘What a terrible woman’ ‘Men are all dogs’ ‘See, that’s why you can’t trust anybody’ ‘If so and so ever did that to me they wouldn’t live to tell the tale’ ‘How can they live with themselves’ ‘That’s so hot’ ‘Good for HER, HE deserved it’ ‘What would I do in that situation?’ ‘Could I ever do that?’ ‘I wish I was brave enough to do that’ ‘It’s not worth the risk’.

Some may argue that art forms that cash in on such cheap emotion are indeed cheap. It doesn’t cost much to move someone when concerning matters of the heart, so indeed, it is all about the artistry that surrounds it.

My favourite films about or involving infidelity…and the songs that inspired this post:

Stanley Kubrick‘s Eyes Wide Shut 1999 starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman

Eyes Wide Shut Movie Poster
Eyes Wide Shut directed by Stanley Kubrick, starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman

I have to start with Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut 1999, starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. I could go on forever about this film…but that’s for another post. Tom Cruise plays New York city doctor Bill Harford married to Nicole Kidman who plays Alice Harford. Jealousy causes Alice to reveal to her husband that she was once on the verge of being unfaithful. This fuels Bill to traul the streets of New York to embark on his own sexual expedition, an expedition which includes an encounter with a prostitute and a quasi-religious sexual ceremony which involves cloaked and masked men having orgies with beautiful women in a mansion in a secret location.

Fatal Attraction 1987: Directed by Adrian Lyne starring Michael Douglas and Glenn Close.

Fatal Attraction Movie Poster
Fatal Attraction 1987: Directed by Adrian Lyne starring Michael Douglas and Glenn Close.

Tag Line: On the other side of drinks, dinner and a one night stand, lies a terrifying love story.

Michael Douglas plays happily married lawyer Dan Gallagher. However, Dan decides to embark on some extra curriculur activity with his colleague Alex Forrest, played by Glenn Close, while his wife and children are away for the weekend. It’s the one night stand from hell.

Unfaithful 2002: directed by Adrian Lyne, starring Richard Gere, Diane Lane and Olivier Martinez

Unfaithful Movie Poster

Tag Line: If you had the opportunity, would you?

Unfaithful 2002: Yet another adulterous film directed by Adrian Lyne, starring Richard Gere, Diane Lane and Olivier Martinez. This is a simple tale of a woman who has it all, a beautiful home, a family and a loving husband, but it just doesn’t seem to be enough. She begins an affair, but the guilt soon becomes too much for her to handle.

Non ti Muovere – Don’t Move 2002: directed by Sergio Castellitto, starring Sergio Castellitto and Penelope Cruz

Non ti Muovere, Don't Move Movie Poster
Non ti Muovere – Don’t Move 2002: directed by Sergio Castellitto, starring Sergio Castellitto and Penelope Cruz.

Non ti Muovere – Don’t Move 2002: directed by Sergio Castellitto, starring Sergio Castellitto and Penelope Cruz. This italian film sees the upper-crust doctor, Timoteo, played by Sergio Castellitto, replay the memories of his affair with a depleted and impoverished woman named Italia, played by Penelope Cruz, who falls pregnant for him.

Vicky, Cristina Barcelona 2008: directed by Woody Allen, starring Scarelet Johansson, Penelope Crus, Javier Bardem and Rebecca Hall

Vicky Cristina Barcelona Movie Poster
Vicky, Cristina Barcelona 2008: directed by Woody Allen, starring Scarelet Johansson, Penelope Crus, Javier Bardem and Rebecca Hall.

 Tag Line: Life is the ultimate work of art…

Vicky, Cristina Barcelona 2008: directed by Woody Allen, starring Scarelet Johansson, Penelope Crus, Javier Bardem and Rebecca Hall. Cristina, played by Johansson and Vicky, played by Hall, both fall for Juan Antonio, played by Bardem. The only problem is, Vicky is engaged to be married. The girls spend a weekend spent with Juan Antonio, which leads Vicky and Juan Antonio sleeping together. While Vicky can’t get the memories of her time with Juan Antonio out of her mind, he begins a relationship with single and free spirited Cristina. Naturally Vicky never tells Cristina off their fling, nor of the jealousy that is grown inside of her since watching her friend with Juan. Cristina and Juan Antonio’s relationship takes unconvential shape when Juan’s ex-girlfriend, Cruz, enters the picture.

A list of other films on the subject:

Match Point 2005: Directed by Woody Allen, starring Scarlet Johansson, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Emily Morimer.

Lemmings 2005: Directed by Dominik Moll, starring Charlotte Gainsbourg, Charlotte Rampling and Laurent Lucas.

Derailed movieposter

Derailed 2005: Directed by Michael Hafstrom, starring Clive Owen and Jennifer Aniston

Indecent Proposal 1993: Directed by Adrian Lyne (starting to see a pattern?) starring Woody Harrelson, Demi Moore and Robert Redford.

Jungle Fever 1993: Directed by Spike Leee, starring Wesley Snipes and Annabella Sciorra

What Lies Beneath 2000: Directed by Robert Zemckis, starring Michelle Pfeifer and Harrison Ford

This blog post was inspired by these songs:

Eric Roberson A Tale of Two

John Legend She Don’t Have to Know

Dwele – Cheating on my Girl


The Roots ft Musiq Soulchild Break You Off

Julia Leigh’s Sleeping Beauty

Julia Leigh’s Sleeping Beauty 2011

Emily Browning sleeping Beauty
Lucy, the Sleeping Beauty, drugged and awaiting a male customer

Advised by October’s  UK Elle Magazine, I watched Julia Leigh’s Sleeping Beauty, starring Emily Browning and Rachel Blake.

What I found particularly captivating about this film is it’s ability to haunt and disturb. Emily Browning plays Lucy, a young, evidently promiscuous girl, struggling to pay her rent and working a number of jobs to make ends meet. She stumbles upon a job in the papers, working as an Escort.  This is then preceded by the first of many sexual and particularly unnerving scenes. I won’t reveal too much about the scenes, as I am guessing there are many still yet to watch this film. But it’s tone sits somewhere in between Stanley Kubrick‘s Eyes Wide Shut, with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman and Steven Shainberg‘s The Secretary starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader.

What’s magnificent about this film, is its ability to push boundaries. It pushes our own personal boundaries and our boundaries as a collective society. I personally think that the old men in this film that desire to lay in bed next to Lucy, a young woman who has consented to being drugged so that men can manipulate her body, are disgusting and I’m pretty sure that society would agree. However, regardless of  how dangerous many of the situations Lucy puts herself in and regardless of how hypocritical this may be, there are definitely  moments that I found her to be empowering as a woman. And these are my own personal boundaries.

I found Julia Leigh’s portrayal of this young girl unbelievably authentic and acute. Lucy is shockingly a very prominent type of young girl that I believe exists in today’s society.  She’s numbed to the dangers of sex, the unkown, vulnerability, and consequently, unashamedly self confident – to the point it’s almost scary. We hear a lot about women with body issues  and we see how damaging such issues can be combined with low self esteem and low confidence levels. Is Lucy the extreme oposite? Powerful,confident and not afraid to put herself out there because she’s beautiful? She uses her body and her beauty as currency, but not because she has to. Her character throughout the film reveals that she is inclined to this behaviour. She appears to enjoy promiscuity, however, it is debatable that she hasn’t even considered herself as promiscuous. Which then leaves me to conclude, that she merely enjoys the powers of her beauty.

Whether this film celebrates or demeans feminism, I’ll leave that for you to decide.

Inspired by: Robert De Niro

Inspired by Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro is the likely star player in the world’s selection of films that we’ll watch as a collective, till the day we die.

Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver
Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver...You Talkin' to Me?

There are many actors and directors whose back catalogue I would like to purchase someday, perhaps when I decide to stop devoting my entire pay cheque to my wardrobe. If any of my friends are reading, Tom Cruise and Martin Scorsese are way up there at the top. But, naturally, at the very tip of the top sits Robert De Niro. Anyone who truly knows me will know that I have a special affection for Robert De Niro… then again, who doesn’t? He is sheer brilliance. The best actor of his time.

Robert De Niro is the star player of my collection of films that I’ll watch till the day I die. You know those films that you’ll watch every three months, and even though you have the film on DVD, you’ll still watch it every time it’s aired on TV and it never ever gets tired. In fact, the familiarity of the film is exciting and learning all of the lines is an achievement.

 Of course there are other actors and films that feature in this list that have nothing to do with De Niro, but De Niro dominates. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve watched Analyze This and Analyze That, starring De Niro alongside Billy Crystal. Of course, I’ll always enjoy watching the Meet the Fockers’ trilogy. Yes, including the third one, that didn’t particularly receive rave reviews. Naturally, The Godfather’s One and Two, Goodfellas and Casino – are films the world will watch as a collective forever. It’s needless to say that A Bronx Tale is placed firmly on this list. My partner and I have joked that this particular film will play on a loop, projected on a screen at our wedding – corny I know, but that tale is ours. (Possibly before I had watched Leon: The Professional, A Bronx Tale may have been my favourite film of all time).

There are a few actors that I can say I have watched most of their films, or that I would even want to. I have found myself enjoying most of the films that Tom Cruise stars in, barring Knight and Day, from Risky Business and Top Gun to Tropic Thunder and the Mission Impossibles. (Mission Impossible 4 rapidly approaching!) It could be possible that the only Tom Cruise film I haven’t seen is Valkyerie, which I have little interest in seeing anyhow.  Eventually, I would like to say that I have watched every single Robert De Niro film…and so far I’m not doing too badly.

Until last week, the most recent films I had watched De Niro perform in were; Limitless, alongside Bradley Cooper. Everyone’s Fine, in which he plays a touching role – a father worried about his adult children, whose hectic lives have left him shut out of their worlds. And of course, the infamous Jack Burns in Meet the Little Fockers!

Last week I watched Cape Fear, starring De Niro alongside Nick Nolte, for the first time. ‘What’s it about?’ I asked my partner. He explained De Niro as a disturbed ex-con and I was immediately excited. There’s something great about films that question people’s sanity or simply displays their insanity – Tom Hardy in Bronson, Brad Pitt in Twelve Monkeys and Fight Club, Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Shining and As Good as it Gets and finally, Javier Camara in Almodovar’s Hable Con Ella.

I have always taken a particular pleasure in watching De Niro play those marginal psychotic characters he played in the earlier stages of his career; Rupert Pupkin in Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy 1983, alongside Jerry Lewis and Diane Abbott. And Tavis Bickle in another Scorsesee film, Taxi Driver 1976, alongside Jodie Foster and Cybill Shepherd.  In Cape Fear De Niro plays Max Cadey, a convicted rapist seeking revenge on the lawyer, Nick Nolte, who defended him. Indeed, De Niro plays another slightly deranged character.  However, unlike many of the films that De Niro stars in, this is not one of them that I can add to my list of films that I’ll continue to watch intermittently till the day I die.

Nevertheless, like Tom Cruise in Knight and Day, I am more than happy to add Cape Fear to my list of De Niro films.