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Written by Claire Cornwall
This film precipitated a great deal of discussion about infidelity and the potential consequences of a seemingly trivial sexual encounter. It also engendered much anger about the seemingly wholly negative character of Alex Forrest, a single woman, and the almost blameless light that Dan Gallagher, a married father of one was cast in. Dan's apparently unrepentant attitude and his determination to keep the affair from his wife suggest that this affair is not his first. His attitude towards Alex is also callous and unrepentant as before her obsession with him manifests itself he still treats her as someone he can throw away and expects their affair to be as insignificant to her as it was to him.
Once Alex's obsession becomes more dangerous Dan is viewed as a victim rather than an equal in their affair. The film definitely forced the audience to consider the potential consequences of cheating and also highlights that there is no such thing as insignificant infidelity. Although we do not know is Alexreally is pregnant, if her claim is indeed true, the effects of a casual affair would last a lifetime, and ruin the lives of the truly innocent parties, Dan's wife and daughter.
Glenn Close was quoted as a saying that men approached her and told her the film and specifically her character on it had saved their marriage because they found her portrayal of Alex so terrifying, and began to view a "meaningless affair" in a different light.
Obsession and Personality Disorder
Alex Forrest's obsession begins in a seemingly harmless way, continues through an almost understandable anger that she is being marginalized and cast aside without any consideration, then escalates wildly. She is part stalker, part psychopath, and her character is actually said to have an obsessive condition known as Clerembault's Syndrome. Throughout the film it is apparent that many emotional and psychiatric disorders exhibit similar behaviors. Fatal Attraction is used as an example of borderline personality disorder as Alex displays impulsiveness, severe anger, fear of abandonment and a tendency to self-harm. She also swings wildly from idealization of Dan to hatred and devaluation. However although these traits are consistent with a borderline personality, the condition tends towards self harm rather than harm to others. In this regard Alex exhibits traits of sociopathy or psychopathy.
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