Fatal Attraction Essay
Don’t have affairs, the film warns, because the type of women who do are driven crazy by the independence they find in their economic and sexual liberation.
Her now famous exclamation, “I’m not gonna be ignored, Dan” can be understood as the demand of a feminist asking for her voice to be heard, and Close’s brilliantly strident delivery makes her sound like an angry and tired housewife asking for respect: she is her lover’s escapist fantasy object no longer.
A movie character’s self-destructive mental disorder has never appeared so dangerous and stressful for people. Alex’s curls are beautiful but messy — Pauline Kael called her a “Medusa” and her stare turns Dan into anxiety personified.
Through Alex, an extensive number of irrational anxieties are thus expressed in an inflammatory manner: the destructive power of desire outside marriage, the irrationality of feminists, the violence that the mentally ill can perpetrate and the burden of their possible suicidal tendencies for the people around them. Her monochromatic black or white wardrobe suggests her mood swings, from childish giddiness to unrestrained rage. In a harrowing moment of despair, Lyne shows Alex sitting on the floor of her apartment beside a lamp that she switches on and off repeatedly, staring into space while listening to the aria from (an opera about a character who yearns for transformation).
In her seminal 1993 book , Yvonne Tasker explained how, in the 1980s, these were the figures of a complex response to second wave feminism.
While still strong and active — in contrast with the stereotypically passive women — these men were also readily objectifiable for their sculpted and proudly displayed bodies.
Oliver Stone’s also from 1987 and starring Douglas as oily corporate raider Gordon Gekko (two Gs, as in “greed is good”) ably captured the wannabe-alpha male side of this equation while hinting at the nervousness underneath.
This paranoia about infidelity was taken at face value by some spectators.
In interviews, Glenn Close has declared that, to this day, men still come up to her to thank her for saving their marriage by making extramarital affairs look more deadly than they’re worth.
With its hanging carcasses, the neighbourhood makes the idea of the “pleasures of the flesh” literal, but also associates Alex with death.
“Most people with mental illness are not violent,” Close explained at the 2013 National Conference on Mental Health held at the White House, “and it is immoral to keep that [stigma] perpetrated.” If that weren’t disturbing enough, the film dives into even murkier waters by having Alex also attempt suicide, and portrays that event in ambiguous ways.