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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Strong message of worst-case-scenario consequences of male adultery and the danger of temptation, even when it seems like a sure thing with no side effects. Many commentators focused -- maybe excessively -- on the ghastly character of Alex as what happens when a single woman concentrates on career instead of family; she becomes a maniac, literally.
Positive Role Models
Only Beth Gallagher seems to be a thoroughly decent person. Daniel, a family man with a seemingly perfect life, almost loses it all just because he thinks he can get away with a weekend affair.
Violence & Scariness
Vicious, hand-to-hand fights, including a drowning attempt. A fatal shooting. Knives figure prominently both in attacks and in a bloody suicide attempt (especially in the original, discarded ending). A pet rabbit is found bloody and boiled. A car crash and facial bruising that results.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Frantic, faintly kinky sex, with bare breasts and behinds, male and female. Alex in revealing bathrobe, lingerie. Daniel's wife in bra and panties. Talk of pregnancy, and of another couple possibly injuring themselves during extreme sex. Alex accuses Dan of being homosexual.
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The f-word, the s-word, "a-hole," "slut," "c-k," S-O-B, "faggot," "bastard," "Jesus Christ," and "bitch." Scene of a little child picking up s-word use from a parent.
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Products & Purchases
Car emblems and other household products. A quick, unidentified flash of the Nickelodeon TV kids' show You Can't Do That on Television. The opera Madame Butterfly gets numerous plugs.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Social drinking, offers of cocktails. Alex smokes cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the raw moments include intense (and, of course, adulterous) sex scenes early on, with kinky overtones since they occur in an elevator, on a kitchen sink, etc. Violence involves bloody suicide attempts, a killing, and an infamous traumatic moment with a pet found killed. There is a considerable amount of swearing. Not only does the "hero" cheat, but he also wants Alex to have an abortion. The common, theatrical version of Fatal Attraction carries an audience-selected ending that just treats Alex as a monster to be slain; look on the DVD and "special editions" for the filmmakers' trickier original ending, in which the traitorous hero pays more dearly for his philandering. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
FATAL ATTRACTION is a grown-up, well-modulated, but deservedly R-rated narrative that builds with relentless force and presents a truly compelling villain in Alex. As nasty as she is, she also clearly articulates the moral code espoused in the movie: Daniel betrayed his marriage vows, and there should be consequences. Daniel is indeed quite a rat, but commentators made less of that than the career-woman-bashing stereotype embodied in Alex, a strong female who has it all together but is actually a ticking time bomb of hormones, hate, and homicide (no trick is missed; Alex has other suitors but ignores them to pursue Daniel). The ending was notoriously switched before release, from an understated twist to violence that pushes this into slasher-horror territory. This movie is definitely not for kids; however, as an anti-infidelity scare flick for adults it still gets the (scarlet) "A."
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.