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Written by Claire Cornwall
Alexandra "Alex" Forrest
A high achieving editor within a publishing company, Alex is the complex lead character in the film. She is obsessed with Dan Gallagher and in the grip of a quickly-escalating madness that has her threatening and following through on these threats of violence to herself and to the entire Gallagher family. Alex is a conduit for discussion about infidelity and mental instability and is the most memorable character in the film.
Michael Douglas played the role of Dan as a family man victimized by an obsessed stalker which precipitated a great deal of discussion and protest from women who saw his character as partially culpable in causing the life-threatening chain of events that follows his affair. He is passionate, driven and a manuals to getting his own way but interestingly it is his wife who ultimately fights back harder against Alex that Dan does.
Initially Beth appears to be to weaker of the two female characters but Archer's steely and determined wronged wife is fearsomely protective and entirely believable as the person who ultimately kills Alex to safeguard the welfare of her family. She is controlled and pragmatic and the definite hero of the film.
Ellen Hamilton Latzen
Ellen is the Gallagher's young daughter who becomes the unwitting victim of Alex's escalating obsession when Alex takes her from school and drives her to an amusement park. Playing "mom" like this enables Alex to delude herself that it is she, not Beth, who is Dan's partner and by asking Ellen for a goodbye kiss is reinforcing her belief that they have a loving relationship. Ellen's character is important as she is the person who brings out the strongest emotions in all three lead characters.
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