by Natasha Theobald
Most movies are based around circumstances being different for at least one moment in time, leading to the events of the story. This movie is so filled with happenstance, coincidences piled one on top of another into a huge dung-heap, that it loses the viewer after just a couple of turns in the winding road. I couldn't even enjoy the sex, which seemed like it should be fairly enjoyable. The pleasure was all wrapped up in guilt and consequences -- which, I know, was sort of the point.Connie Sumner (Diane Lane) is a suburban housewife and mother. She makes breakfast in the morning, sends her boys off into the world, and waits at home for them to return. But, on the windiest day ever, she decides she needs to go into the city wearing a billowy skirt for the wind to pick up in order to buy sparkly party crap she probably could have gotten at the dollar store down the road. It doesn't matter, because a lot of the stuff blows away. She is left stranded with no cab, bloody knees, and an open door into the world of Paul's apartment.
"Oh, the woe!"
Paul Martel (Olivier Martinez) is young, gorgeous, and French. More than that, he's well read. Connie is drawn to him and the apartment, returning more than once to take them both in. She gets caught up in the thrill and terror of her choices and starts to lose a grip on the life she had once known and on herself, as well.
Edward Sumner (Richard Gere), Connie's husband, knows something is awry when she doesn't want to trade scrub-a-dubs in the tub with him. He has her followed and learns her secret. The rest of the movie, then, is how he chooses to respond and the aftermath.
The performances are good, particularly that of Diane Lane, who goes through about 3000 emotions and changes and is able to let them all show. Richard Gere also seems quite human in rage and in pain. Olivier Martinez manages to be a little smarmy and still desirable. It's really hard to hate anyone for their actions, because, for the most part, they seem marginally plausible if not completely ill-advised. Erik Per Sullivan of "Malcolm in the Middle" plays son Charlie. He is cute, which adds to the guilt of what his mommy is doing.I can't tell if this was meant to be a cautionary tale or an embittered wail against the forces of the universe which conspire against innocent people, weilding the weapon of chance. Either way is a cop-out, I think. Paul says there are no mistakes, that you do what you do. Well, they did.
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originally posted: 02/17/03 15:33:30