Successful architect Ray Reardon (James Spader) has just come off a messy divorce. Though his friends push the joys of single life, Ray wants domestic bliss. Then he meets the beautiful, seemingly perfect woman Lena after he (literally) bumps into her at a party. As if by chance, they cross paths once more and move quickly from there. Soon they marry and have a baby daughter. However, Ray begins to pick up on strange things about his wife he noticed even prior to their marrying. Lena has a past life he doesn't know about, which he investigates to her displeasure. Yet the disclosure seems just a bump in the road and the couple go on to have another baby. Then events take an untoward turn, and Lena's true nature is revealed...
Trope examples from this film include:
- Abusive Parents: Lena claims to have them early on. Ray has doubts about this after meeting her parents, and his feelings turn out to be well-founded.
- Gold Digger It turns out Lena is one.
- Hollywood Law: Ray's action in the Twist Ending hinges on it.
- Mysterious Past
- Twist Ending Ray, having been goaded into attacking Lena and set up to look crazy, is committed to an institution. He gets a friend to give her the message she "forgot something." After getting another inmate to distract the orderly, Ray walks away with her to explain what she forget in the plan to steal his money and run off with another man to New Zealand. Having gotten him declared mentally ill and committed, he's not legally responsible, Ray says...as he strangles her. He'll be acquitted by reason of insanity and then released when he's "cured". This is Hollywood Law, as it would likely get him locked in a mental institution for the rest of his life, assuming he in fact was acquitted.
- Was It All a Lie?? Yes. Yes it was.