Even for those who haven't seen the film, they know enough to guess how the story goes; a beautiful woman who has it all gives in to temptation and cheats on her husband. She is torn between the passion she feels for her lover and her devotion to her husband and son. Simple, right? Yes, if that were the whole story, but fortunately, it isn't.
To understand the complicated emotions behind the obvious adulterous story, you must understand the history of the man who directed this film. Although well known for the 80’s classic, “Flashdance,” and the mind-tripping “Jacob’s Ladder,” Adrian Lyne also directed “Indecent Proposal,” “Fatal Attraction,” and “Nine ½ Weeks.” If you’re beginning to see a theme here, you’re on the right track. Lyne seems fascinated with the age old tales of betrayals in love. “Unfaithful” is no different. Based on the 1969 French film, “La Femme Infidèle,” (The Unfaithful Wife), the story begins by thrusting us into the everyday lives of the Sumner family. Ed Sumner is a handsome successful man, and utterly devoted to his wife Connie (Diane Keaton), and their son Charlie (Erik Per Sullivan). Connie, who seems content with her family and beautiful home, is actually yearning for something more, something exciting, but she doesn’t know what until she literally bumps into it one day.
When she meets Paul Martel (Olivier Martinez), she is instantly fascinated with him. She loves his French accent, his fondness for poetry, the gothic, book-filled apartment he’s living in… What begins as a passing attraction quickly becomes a wild affair.
Although Ed would never suspect his wife of cheating on him, he can’t ignore the signs that are there: new lingerie he’s never seen, small lies about where she’s been, and a new distance between them. When Bill (Chad Lowe), a disgruntled former employee gives Ed a cryptic warning about what his wife is doing behind his back, Ed hires a private detective. Soon he has photographic evidence that Connie is spending her days with another man, now he must decide how to handle his discovery.
“Unfaithful” isn’t a good film only because of the steamy sex scenes and morbid fascination of watching a “perfect” family fall apart, it’s because of all the questions one choice can raise. Why would a woman who has everything risk it all over an affair? Does her much younger lover genuinely care for her or is it a game to him? Can their marriage move past the decision that Ed ultimately makes? Much like his other films dealing with infidelity, this one will quickly draw you in and keep you guessing throughout.