Fatal Affair | Chicago Reader
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Fatal Affair

If you’re the kind of person who enjoys yelling at the movie screen when characters make poor choices, you may like Fatal Affair. To be clear, this is not a good movie. However, its earnest cheesiness may provide an afternoon of quarantine distraction, and perhaps for 2020 that’s enough. Black Hollywood royalty Nia Long and Omar Epps play Ellie and David, two old friends who indulge in a moment of passion that threatens to undo Ellie’s troubled marriage to Michael, played by Stephen Bishop. Infinitely watchable and attractive, Long and Epps and Bishop should all smolder on the screen more than they do, but Peter Sullivan’s rather basic script never reveals their acting chops and sticks to the basic gimmicks of the genre. The infinite appeal of romance-turned-stalker films like the iconic The Hand That Rocks the Cradle and Fatal Attraction lies in relishing the safe escalation of the breach of consent through increasingly alarming, imaginative—and often ridiculously implausible—methods. While the story for Fatal Affair never quite reaches “bunny stew” levels of psychopathy, Ellie’s inaction as the victim is terrifying and maddening (OMG JUST CALL THE POLICE), and a nuanced exploration of that cocktail of shame, fear, and subsequent paralysis could have rendered a richer film.

Streaming on Netflix

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