In the new movie The Other Woman Mark King (Game of Thrones’s Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) tries to push infidelity to Tiger Woodsian heights by cheating on his wife (Leslie Mann) with multiple mistresses, including Carly and Amber (Cameron Diaz and Kate Upton). “We got played by the same guy,” says Carly.
“Getting played” in Hollywood movies dates back further than the invention of the ashleymadison website.
In 1960 the Jack Lemmon movie The Apartment tackled the subject of adultery. The film, about a lonely insurance company lackey who allows his bosses to use his apartment as a trysting spot in hopes that they will promote him, was a big hit, but also a controversial one. The Saturday Review called it “a dirty fairy tale” and co-star Fred McMurray says a woman on the street hit him with her purse, taking to him to task for making “a dirty, filthy movie.”
2005’s Derailed, stars Clive Owen as a married man who hooks up with Lucinda (Jennifer Aniston) after meeting her on a commuter train. In a hormone induced rush they decide to consummate their illicit affair at a seedy hotel, only to be interrupted by a burglar who robs them and sexually assaults Lucinda. Things spiral out of control as the robber blackmails the couple and seems to have an unquenchable thirst for Owen’s money.
Derailed is a cautionary tale about staying faithful to your spouse and never, ever renting rooms in sleazy hotels. Part Fatal Attraction, part Hitchcock thriller the movie stays on track through the set-up of the story, but as soon as the going gets rough the story, well… derails.
The most famous infidelity movie has to be 1987’s Fatal Attraction. It begins with Michael “I’m a married man!” Douglas having a fling with Glenn “I’m not gonna be ignored!” Close. When he tries to break off their affair, she becomes a lesson in why not to cheat on your wife.
The film was a sensation on release, inspiring a number of imitators including The Crush, Single White Female and a spoof called Fatal Instinct, and its most famous clip, the rabbit boiling on the stove, even inspired a phrase in the Urban Dictionary. According to the website, cook your rabbit “refers to the moment when someone goes over the edge in their obsession with another person.”
In an interview twenty year after the film’s release Close said, “”Men still come up to me and say, ‘You scared the [crap] out of me.’ Sometimes they say, ‘You saved my marriage.'”
Sometimes it seems like Hollywood is obsessed with infidelity, both on screen and off.
Celebrity cheating scandals—Jesse and the porn star, Tiger and, well, everyone—covered the front pages recently, and Zsa Zsa Gabor once famously said, ‘How many husbands have I had? You mean apart from my own?”
Even supposedly happily-ever-after-Tinseltown-couples preemptively guard against unfaithfulness by signing “cheat-proof” prenups. Catherine Zeta-Jones has a legal infidelity clause with Michael Douglas and it’s rumoured that Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen signed one worth more than $4 million.
In this weekend’s The Dilemma — a funny take on infidelity — Vince Vaughn discovers his best friend’s wife is having an affair. There have been adultery comedies before but usually on screen in American films there is a price to be paid for matrimonial betrayal. Ever since the first cheating Hollywood movie, 1915’s Infidelity, movies like The End of the Affair, Body Heat and Derailed have shown the consequences of bed hopping, but one movie stands head and shoulder above the rest as a cautionary tale.
Fatal Attraction begins with Michael Douglas, a married man, who has a fling with Glenn “I’m not gonna be ignored!” Close. When he tries to break off their affair, she becomes a lesson in why not to cheat on your wife.
The film was a sensation in 1987 and its most famous clip, the rabbit boiling on the stove, even inspired a phrase in the Urban Dictionary. According to the website, cook your rabbit “refers to the moment when someone goes over the edge in their obsession with another person.”
Fatal Attraction was a box office bonanza, inspiring a number of imitators including The Crush, Single White Female and a spoof called Fatal Instinct.
More poignant is Same Time Next Year, the story of a 26-year affair. Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn star as an extramarital couple who rendezvous once a year from youth to old age. Based on a stage play by Canadian Bernard Slade, it’s a nice mix of humour — when asked how many kids he has Alda lies, saying two rather than three. “I thought it would make me seem less married,” he says — and emotion.
Perhaps the strangest infidelity movie on our list is Come With Me My Love, a supernatural tale about a man who kills his cheating wife, then commits suicide, only to come back as a ghost 50 years later to haunt his old apartment.