Film: Disclosure

Disclosure is a 1994 thriller film, directed by Barry Levinson and based on a novel by Michael Crichton. The main stars were Michael Douglas and Demi Moore.

Tom Sanders (Douglas) is a software executive who has a perfect life. That is until it is ruined upon the arrival of his former girlfriend, Meredith Johnson (Moore). Meredith happens to be his new boss and a lover from a long time ago. She decides its an opportunity to rekindle their sexual relationship and is rather aggressive about it. Since he considers himself happily married he refuses.

The following day, Meredith files charges of sexual harassment against him. Nobody believes in his innocence, neither his family, nor his colleagues. His only hope is his new attorney Catherine Alvarez (Roma Maffia), who specializes in sexual harassment cases where men are the victims. He has little problem of settling out of court. Only to learn the company has been looking for a scapegoat for some recent problems with the quality of their products. With all the attention to his name, it seems Tom has just volunteered for the job.


Tropes included:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Meredith is blonde in the novel, but she has brown hair in the film.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: "Did it ever occur to you, Meredith, that maybe I set you up?"
  • Betty and Veronica: Tom Sanders' wife and Meredith respectively.
  • Clear My Name: The basis of the plot.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Tom Sanders, sort of.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Discussed, but Deconstructed and ultimately Subverted. While no one (initially) believes Tom's claim that Meredith is the one who came onto him, her actions are never presented as "right" or "okay".
  • Femme Fatale: Meredith. She's even introduced through the classic "leg shot", no less!
  • Film Noir: While the crimes in the film involve sexual harassment and corporate corruption, the content tropes of the style are present in full force—particularly the Femme Fatale, the plot involving false accusations, the series of twists where nothing is as it seems, and the male "sap" set up to take the fall.
  • Meaningful Name: The domineering, sex-hungry female boss is named Meredith Johnson.
  • Positive Discrimination: The film tries to both subvert and lampshade this, but mostly ends up playing it straight, as one can't help but get the idea that the CEO is just promoting Kaplan (however much she may deserve it) so he can "save face" about the companies policies on "hiring women".
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Meredith. Subverted in that while we're supposed to believe she's this, she actually has entirely different motives.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Stephanie Kaplan, who most of the movie seems to not want to get involved in the scandal, but ultimately turns out to be Tom's mysterious "friend". As such, when she is promoted to VP in Meredith's place, Tom is perfectly okay with it.
  • Shower of Angst: Tom after his encounter with Meredith. Not wanting to tell his wife what happened, he passes it off as simply feeling "shitty" after a bad day (he was passed over for a promotion)
  • Sleeping with the Boss: Plays the "female boss, male employee" version of this for all the drama it can. Meredith Johnson, the ex and new boss of Tom Sanders, tries to restart their relationship, but Tom doesn't want to go through with it due to him being married now. Meredith then out-and-out tries to rape him, forcing him to fight her off. The plot gets kicked off when she files charges of sexual harassment against him.
    • When Tom's lawyer investigates Meredith, she finds that several of her male subordinates have abruptly and inexplicably quit, heavily implying that Tom is not the first nor only employee she's made unwanted advances to.
  • Straw Feminist: An interesting In-Universe spin on the trope. When Tom asks a female co-worker if she's on Meredith's side, the woman replies that she worked her tail off to get where she is—as opposed to Meredith, who the co-worker clearly views as having used sexual manipulation to rise to the top, wrapped in feminist trappings. As such, the answer is "no". Stephanie Kaplan later implies she feels the same way.
  • Twist Ending: Turns out the whole "sexual harassment" scandal, however it turned out, was just to put doubt in the minds of everyone when the problems with the new software would be revealed...so Tom could then serve as a convenient scapegoat.
  • The Unfair Sex: Examined like mad. The second and third acts of the movie deal with this on behalf of both genders.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Meredith has one when Tom turns the tables on her and manage to get her fired for her involvement in the change of the quality control specifications at the Malaysian plant manufacturing Digi Com's new advanced CD-ROM drive.
  • Yandere - Meredith appears to be this at one point, but like everything else, it's an act.