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YMMV / Fatal Attraction

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  • Accidental Aesop:
    • Career women are bad, housewives are good. When the movie was released, it was blasted by feminists who assumed this was the film's message. Director Adrian Lynn denied it.
      • Didn't help that the screenwriter James Dearden re-adapted the story from his short film Diversion that both sympathized with the career woman and the housewife (who was about to re-enter the workforce now that the young child is entering kindergarten age) and ends on cliffhanger where the wife receives a phone call from his mistress.
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    • Having sex with strangers is possibly deadly...AIDS became well known just around when this movie was released.
    • Glenn Close claims that to this day, men come up to her on the street and thank her for saving their marriage, indicating that they were debating an affair before realizing that the woman might turn out to be a psycho like Alex.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • He Says She Says all over the damn place. Is he to blame for cheating... or her, for stalking? Which is worse? Does one merit the other as a punishment?
    • Was Alex really pregnant, or was she just saying that to get Dan's attention?
    • Glenn Close consulted with two psychiatrists for her role, who deemed Alex's behavior to be symptomatic of some past sexual trauma. If true, this makes Alex a far more tragic character.
      • Dearden the screenwriter agrees and laments that the reaction from most audiences was "kill the bitch".
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  • Award Snub: 6 Academy Award nominations, zero wins. Worst still, the film was nominated in what turned out to be a very non-competitive year. It lost all six awards to either The Last Emperor or Moonstruck, both of which it has arguably since surpassed in longevity and impact.
  • Broken Base: Whether the original or reshot ending is the better one.
  • The Catch-Phrase Catches On:
    • After this movie, "bunny boiler" became a popular term for a crazy woman.
    • And the title of the film, "Fatal Attraction", has become a popular term for somebody who becomes obsessed with their love interest.
  • Designated Hero: Dan Gallagher, a Karma Houdini who commits adultery, breaking and entering, assault and intimidation, and never faces any legal consequences for his crimes against Alex. Although his wife is hospitalized and his family suffers, he suffers very little physical harm, never has to take responsibility for his unborn child, and his wife takes him back in the end despite his lying and cheating.
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  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Despite being the film's villain, Alex is undeniably its most memorable character, inspiring similar ones, and still being referred to 30 years later.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • Glenn Close played a pregnant woman on a murderous-rampage in the re-shot ending that we all know and love; she didn't find out she actually was pregnant with a little girl during the filming of said-murderous rampage until after she was rushed to the hospital with a concussion during a botched take. Needless to say, she does not like watching the finale to this day, having (unknowingly) risked her daughter's life filming it.
    • OJ Simpson was among those considered for the role of Dan. In the original ending, Dan is accused of killing Alex—by slashing her throat. Umm...
  • Funny Moments: This Saturday Night Live skit.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • One of the actresses considered for the role of Alex Forrest was Sharon Stone. Alex is believed to be the inspiration for the role of Catherine Trammell in Basic Instinct, which made Sharon Stone famous.
    • Tom Hanks was considered for the role of Dan. In Sleepless in Seattle, Tom Hanks' character mentions that the movie "scared the shit out of me and every man in America!"
    • Glenn Close and Michael Douglas presented at the Oscars the following year, while Close was eight months pregnant, prompting roars of laughter from the audience who recalled that Alex had been pregnant too.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The film made Glenn Close quite popular in Japan. Also, the Japanese version keeps the original ending. See Focus Group Ending.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • These days, "bunny boiler" refers to deranged women.
    • As well as: "I'm not going to be ignored!" Especially interesting in that, like so many famous movie lines, the original delivery is actually pretty understated. Alex actually sounds more amused at Dan than anything else when she says it. FYI, it was nominated, but not ranked, for AFI's "Quotes" list.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Alex crosses it by instigating the "bunny boiler" incident. There's also when Alex kidnaps Dan's daughter several days later, terrifying her parents — and the viewer — with the very real fact that she could have harmed her if she wanted to, and indirectly leading to Dan's wife being injured in a car accident. It's not hard to see why this is the last straw for Dan. (And likely when Alex loses any remaining sympathy from the viewer she had.)
  • Retroactive Recognition: A 16-year-old Jane Krakowski is babysitting for the Gallaghers in the beginning of the film.
  • Special Effects Failure: Michael Douglas' Obvious Stunt Double throughout the fight scene in Alex's apartment.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Alex blows off a date with a presumably unmarried man to pursue the married Dan—who never lied to her about being married, nor led her to believe that he would leave his wife, or that their weekend fling would be anything more even if he were single. Aside from demanding child support, Alex really doesn't have any right to act like the psycho she devolves into.
  • Values Dissonance: School employees were either completely unaware that Ellen had left, or let her go off with someone who only had to claim she was her mother or a friend of the family, without them ever verifying it. These are major errors that shouldn't even have happened then and is unlikely to happen today, with the rigorous checks in place.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: A lot of viewers think that Ellen is a boy.


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