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Fatal Attraction Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 60

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Julie Salamon

    Mr. Lyne is able to make things look the way they're supposed to look because he trained in the television-commercial world. But he has a hard time getting beneath the gloss. [17 Sep 1987, p.1]

  • 63

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Fatal Attraction is a spellbinding psychological thriller that could have been a great movie if the filmmakers had not thrown character and plausibility to the winds in the last minutes to give us their version of a grown-up "Friday the 13th."

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune

    Lyne indulges in baroque touches-he is fond of open-grate elevators and water, be it rain or from faucets-but mostly he tells the story in well- tailored vignettes that range from horrifying to humorous. [21 Sep 1987, p.5]

  • 90

    out of 100


    The screws are tightened expertly in this suspenseful meller about a flipped-out femme who makes life hell for the married man who scorns her.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 16+

Adultery-obsession thriller isn't for kids (or bunnies).

What 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.

  • Families can talk about the messages in the film -- especially who is more at fault, the obsessed and dangerously deluded Alex, or Dan, who betrays his family by having an affair with her? What would one think of Dan if he had gotten away with his adulterous fling? Does Alex have a point about Dan being selfish?
  • Adultery isn't confined to movie characters. Even actors and entertainers have been unfaithful in their super-glamorous showbiz marriages (believe it or not). Talk about why this happens, and whatever happened to "for better or for worse?"
  • Ask kids if they know of situations like the one in the movie among their peers (Fatal Attraction clones like The Crush and Swimfan did indeed bring this plot to high-school environments). How would young viewers handle obsessive relationships?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: 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.

  • rolemodels true0

    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.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: 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.

  • sex false4

    Sex: 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.

  • language false4

    Language: 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.

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: 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.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Social drinking, offers of cocktails. Alex smokes cigarettes.