I'm not going to be IGNORED, Dan!Fatal Attraction
— Alex Forrest
is a 1987 thriller about a married man named Dan Gallagher who cheats on his wife with a co-worker named Alex Forrest while his wife and child are away. Dan expects their affair to just be a one-night stand, but Alex, who is a bit on the unbalanced side
, has other ideas.
Alex attempts suicide when Dan explains to her that he has to get back home and get on with his life. He tries to put the affair behind him, but Alex will not let go, and stalks Dan with the intent of getting him back
, and as Dan continues to turn her down, Alex gets increasingly unhinged, reaching into his life and his family with devastating effect. It gets to the point where Dan and his family have to move, but Alex still won't leave them alone, continuing to stalk them, her obsession turning to hatred over time
, culminating in a horrific scene which coined the phrase "bunny boiler." Dan, who originally wanted to keep the affair secret from his wife, now has to protect his family from a psychotic woman who is willing to do anything, even kill
, in order to get her man.Fatal Attraction
was the top grossing movie of 1987, was nominated for several Academy Awards, and became hugely popular both in the United States and internationally. Alex Forrest was cited as a notable film example of someone with erotomania. The movie was also the cause of much discussion about marital infidelity (and the Double Standard
gender politics involved in the Stalking Is Love
trope) for a good while afterward.
Not to be confused with Fatal Instinct
This film contains examples of:Mama Bear
: Beth and Dan, given their reactions to the threats against Ellen.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: Alex tries to do this to Dan's wife Beth in the end.
- My Biological Clock Is Ticking: Alex's explanation for why she's choosing to keep Dan's baby rather than aborting it.
- Not Good with Rejection: Alex in regards to Dan. Big time.
- Oh, Crap: "My wabbit, My wabbit!"
- Police Are Useless: Dan's initial pleas to the cops are ignored with them basically having the attitude that he brought it on himself by having the affair with Alex, but also truthfully pointing out that he has no proof that it was she who vandalized his car and that there isn't much they can do regarding her harassment (stalking laws either didn't exist back then or were very weak and usually geared towards women being targeted by men, not the other way around). After Alex snatches Ellen, it's obvious Dan holds the cops equally responsible for failing to act when he first complained.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: In her tape to Dan, Alex accuses him of being a "flaming fucking faggot".
- Sanity Slippage: The more Dan tries to distance himself from Alex, the crazier she gets.
- Stalker with a Crush: Alex, to the extent of being an alternate Trope Namer.
- Vapor Wear: Alex has no concept of wearing a bra, apparently.
- What Happened to the Mouse??: Dan's lawyer buddy and his wife, apparently good friends with Dan and his wife, disappear halfway through the movie. The lawyer's last scene is warning Dan that Alex could sue him for child support, but that's the last we see of him.
- Woman Scorned: Alex, especially near the end.
- Would Hurt a Child: Alex has no problem breaking Ellen's heart by killing her pet rabbit. And although she returns Ellen unharmed, it's obvious that she wanted to terrify her parents with the very real possibility that she could have harmed her if she wanted to.
- Yandere: Alex. Holy shit, Alex. (Know why this movie was a huge hit in Japan? There you go.) Her #7 placement on AFI' s "Villains" List is well earned.
- Your Cheating Heart: Sets up the plot.