History of Sex in Cinema:
The Greatest and Most Influential
Sexual Films and Scenes


2002, Part 2

The History of Sex in Cinema
Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Film/Scene Description

My Name is Tanino (2002, It.)

Director Paolo Virzi's coming-of-age comedy was set during a sunny Sicilian summer, and involved an acquaintance between two characters:

  • Sally Garfield (Rachel McAdams in her feature film debut), a young American tourist
  • Tanino (Corrado Fortuna), an Italian boy

After they met during her visit, Tanino would optimistically follow her to the US after the summer was over to track her down. He faced misadventures after finding that she was now uninterested in him, including being accused of becoming the lover of Sally's mother.

The film included topless beach swimming scenes (and some stylish photography as the camera dipped underwater and provided a gigantic closeup, and then panned up to Sally's face). She was swimming with equally unclothed Melissa (Meredith Ostorm) who was wearing a shell necklace.

[Note: McAdams would soon become more notable (and covered up) in films such as The Notebook (2004), Mean Girls (2004), Wedding Crashers (2005) and Red Eye (2005).]

(l to r): Melissa (Meredith Ostorm), Sally Garfield (Rachel McAdams)

Sally (Rachel McAdams)

National Lampoon's Van Wilder (2002) (aka Van Wilder)

This was the first of three R-rated, un-PC gross-out comedy films, occurring at about the same time as a series of four American Pie Presents: sequels (from 2005-2009). It was followed by an unconnected sequel Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj (2006), and a prequel Van Wilder: Freshman Year (2009).

All of the entries were noted for strong sexual content, gross humor (masturbation, excrement, vomit, bestiality and breast jokes), and foul language, following a familiar pattern of rowdy hijinks, offensive stereotypes, topless nudity, and raunch.

It was a tired and contrived sex-and-school romp about a seventh year undergraduate student Van Wilder (Ryan Reynolds of ABC's Two Guys and a Girl) at Michigan's Coolidge College who was seeking a degree in leisure studies (his credo: "Don't be a fool, stay in school").

Among other profitable ventures to earn funds to remain a student (since his father Vance, Animal House's Otter (Tim Matheson) refused to pay another $39,000 tuition bill), Van Wilder sought Indian personal assistant Taj (Kal Penn) to help him and then recruited strippers to be "topless tutors" such as Desiree (Former Penthouse Pet Jesse Capelli, credited as Jenny Leone). He also hired himself out as a "party liaison" (with his "undeniable ability to throw one hell of a party," and his belief: "Sex sells").

In a semi-serious sub-plot, his notorious exploits as a perennial student raised the skeptical attention of brainy staff writer for the school's newspaper Gwen Pearson (Tara Reid). She wrote a "human interest piece" on him and soon became romantically intrigued with him, although questioned why he was avoiding graduating. Ultimately, Van Wilder was set up (or framed) by Gwen's jealous boyfriend and expelled (but saved during an appeal allowing him to graduate).

Earlier, Van Wilder had advised Taj on his "foolproof plan" of sexual technique: "All you need are the three fundamentals: scented candles, massage oil, and Barry White" - although Taj's "hot" date with pretty blonde Naomi (Ivana Bozilovic) ("That's 'I moan' backwards") proved disastrous. Calling her "my little Jasmine flower," he tripped on the floor, and when he liberally applied oil to her back and she begged: "Take me, I want you now," he jumped onto her, but slid across her back onto the floor and started a fire. She asked: "Don't tease me..." and added: "I'm about to culminate, now get over here!" They both felt "on fire" and were "burning up" - it was because Taj's back was literally up in flames.

Taj's Disastrous Date Scene with Naomi (Ivana Bozilovic)

One of the more detestable scenes was the collection of canine semen (from a dog with an enlarged scrotum) to be consumed in creme-filled pastries. The film ended with Gwen in Van Wilder's arms during a graduation pool party:

Van Wilder: "I was scared that you wouldn't come."
Gwen: "Well, I was trying to decide what panties I should wear."
Van Wilder: "Which ones did you choose?"
Gwen: "None."

Topless Tutor Desiree
(Jesse Capelli)

Van Wilder (Ryan Reynolds) with Gwen (Tara Reid)

New Best Friend (2002)

Controversy swirled around director Adrian Lyne's re-making of Lolita (1997) with 17 year-old blonde starlet Dominique Swain as the title character - a tempting nymphet nicknamed 'Lolita' - because of the under-aged actress' sex scenes with co-star Jeremy Irons.

Now five years later, Swain starred in this cheaply-titillating, sexy teen thriller by director Zoe Clarke-Williams - actually made in 1999 and kept on the studio's shelf. It was a cross between All About Eve (1950) and The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999). She portrayed the main female character:

  • Sidney Barrett (Dominique Swain), a liberated, bisexual, hedonistic, North Carolina 'Colby University' sorority party girl

Sidney had liaisons with two others:

  • Alicia Glazer (Mia Kirschner), an aspiring, frumpy lower-class college girl - who underwent an amazing social transformation with a make-over
  • Julianne Livingston (Rachel True), a bulimic African-American artist
Sidney with Alicia - Lesbian Kissing Scene: "Now that wasn't so bad, was it?"

The film's poorly-executed, silly plot about possible attempted murder (a drug overdose), told in flashback after Alicia overdosed and was hospitalized in a drug-induced coma, included requisite lipstick lesbianism (lingering kissing scenes, including one at a party: "What? Is everyone a lesbian now?") and gratuitous lesbianism with minimal nudity, solely for lurid purposes.

(l to r): Sidney Barrett (Dominique Swain), Alicia Glazer (Mia Kirschner)

The Other Side of the Bed (2002, Sp.) (aka El Otro Lado de la cama, or The Wrong Side of the Bed)

This R-rated raucous and sexy romantic comedy/musical (along the lines of an inferior Grease), directed by Spanish filmmaker Emilio Martinez-Lazaro, was a big hit in Spain and the winner of six Goya awards (the country's Oscars).

The tagline explained the film's premise:

"Sometimes the game of love requires a little cheating..."

Set in Madrid, the film told about the bed-hopping (or musical-beds) story of two couples and their betrayals, infidelities, and various couplings:

  • Javier (Ernesto Alterio) was paired with Sonia (Paz Vega) - Javier suspected she was dating lesbian actress Lucia (Nathalie Poza)
  • Paula (Natalia Verbeke), the ex-girlfriend of Javier's best friend Pedro, was having a secretive affair with Javier; she attempted to have Pedro date Pilar (Maria Esteve)
  • Pedro (Guillermo Toledo), heartbroken after breaking up with Paula, had a one-night stand with Sonia

Sonia (Paz Vega)

Paula (Natalia Verbeke)

Secretary (2002)

Director Steven Shainberg's independent film won the Sundance Special Jury Prize for Originality - it was a kinky comedy/drama of forbidden love that told about repressed passion in the character of nervous, repressed, troubled, self-mutilating and reclusive office worker Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal).

She was recently released from a mental hospital - and then served as a personal assistant/secretary to intense, offbeat, and imperious tax lawyer-boss E. Edward Grey (James Spader) in a kinky sado-masochistic, power relationship. He demonstrated control over her life by appealing to her vulnerable, masochistic and submissive tendencies through various mind-games and physical humiliations (i.e., a slave-like dog collar, or pretending that she was a horse with a saddle on her back and carrot in her mouth). She even climbed into a dumpster to look for a file.

In another scene, he had Lee lean over a desk as he spanked her to punish her for a small typo error that he had marked with his thick red pen. Afterwards, she stimulated herself to orgasm in the ladies' room.

At another point to punish her, while she was bent over, he commanded her to remove her pantyhose and panties and then masturbated onto her buttocks from behind her. He threatened to fire her (with his own growing feelings of disgust and shame) - and eventually she was terminated.

In the film's conclusion, Lee walked out during a wedding dress fitting in preparation for marrying childhood friend Peter (Jeremy Davies) who couldn't satisfy her peculiar sexual needs. She returned to Edward's office, where she confronted him, and admitted her love for him. The obsessive-compulsive Grey was tiring of their sexual games and exhausted by her energies:

Edward: "Look, we can't do this 24 hours a day, seven days a week."
Lee: (matter-of-factly) "Why not?"

She then demanded: "I want to make love." He ordered that she sit at his desk with her palms extended and resting on the desk, until further notice. She proved her love and devotion by staging a marathon 'last stand' there (without moving her hands or feet), over a period of three days.

Grey eventually relented and admitted his love for her. She was carried to a hidden room in his law office where he removed her wedding dress, lovingly bathed her in a cast-iron tub, and then made love to her on a bed of grass.

The Film's Concluding Sequence

A voice-over summarized as the film ended:

"We had a June wedding, by ourselves, at the justice of the peace. Then we honeymooned in the mountains. We only had the weekend, because Edward had to get back to work."

Subservient Humiliation by Secretary Lee Holloway
(Maggie Gyllenhaal)


Secret Things (2002, Fr.) (aka Choses Secretes)

Director Jean-Claude Brisseau's very explicit French film, Cahier Du Cinema's 2002 selection for "Film of the Year," included group sex (in an orgy), lesbian sex, three-way sex, exhibitionism, masturbation and incest. As a result of this film, a number of actresses in the film brought a real-life sexual harassment suit against the director (and in 2005, he was found guilty of sexually harassing young actresses who were persuaded to masturbate while auditioning for parts). He justified himself through his next arthouse film Exterminating Angels (2006, Fr.) (aka Les Anges Exterminateurs) (see later description).

It was a cynical, adult-themed tale about the two Parisian females who exploited their sexuality:

  • Nathalie (Coralie Revel), a French exotic stripper
  • Sandrine (Sabrina Seyvecou), an inexperienced and naive friend/bartender

The film opened with Nathalie theatrically performing an erotic, fully-nude supine strip-tease and self-pleasuring in front of an enthralled audience. When Sandrine was fired (for refusing to turn tricks for the club's sleazy manager), Nathalie also quit as a symbol of solidarity. Both lived together and embarked on a campaign of man-baiting vengeance.

In one memorable scene, Nathalie directed Sandrine with self-loving masturbatory techniques with step-by-step instructions for sexual awakening, and she also advised: "Every time you hesitate, dare yourself to go a little further."

Both females found employment in a male-dominated Parisian brokerage house as a pair of corporate femme fatales, who found male victims to manipulate so that they could be promoted, including the bank owner's promiscuous son Christophe (Fabrice Deville). [Christophe was having an on-going incestuous relationship with sister Charlotte (Blandine Bury)]. The pair would wear trenchcoats while naked underneath and dare each other (as in the subway scene).

It was eventually revealed that the womanizer Christophe was having a secret love affair with Nathalie, although Sandrine was planning on marrying him (and then divorcing him to inherit his wealth).


Nathalie (Coralie Revel)

Sandrine (Sabrina Seyvecou)

Nathalie and Sandrine

Charlotte (Blandine Blury)
and Sandrine

Sex is Comedy (2002, Fr.) (aka Scènes intimes)

Militant feminist director Catherine Breillat's provocative, semi-autobiographical "film within a film" had its North American premiere at the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival. It was a fictional account of the making of the central, very raw sex scene from Breillat's earlier Fat Girl (2001).

In the filming of Fat Girl (2001), a young virgin Actress (Roxane Mesquida, who starred in Breillat's Fat Girl) was to be seduced by an older boy Actor (Gregoire Colin, who didn't appear in Fat Girl). The talkative film highlighted director Jeanne's (Breillat's alter-ego French film-maker, played by Anne Parillaud) difficulties with her two lead actors, when they expressed nervous reservations about being in a sex film together - especially when they both hated each other.

She urged her performers (the male wore a prosthetic penis) to extend themselves for a more authentic and passionate performance:

- "Fear of being obscene makes one obscene...Emotion is never dirty or obscene -- it's grace."
- "Words are lies, bodies are truth - I have to show the truth."

Actress (Roxane Mesquida) with Actor (Gregoire Colin)

Sex With Strangers (2002)

This very explicit, unrated quasi-documentary about alternative swinging was directed by Joe and Harry Gantz - the creators of HBO's voyeuristic series "Taxicab Confessions," but this one was for Showtime. Its tagline was: "And You Thought Monogamy Was Hard." It prefaced the film with a title card:

This film follows the lives of three couples who swing.

The bizarre psychodrama was filmed with grainy digital video, and basically followed three white trash exhibitionist couples (actually seven somewhat distasteful individuals) during a year's period. The couples experienced what was called "the lifestyle" at various swing clubs, pick-up bars, private homes, and trailers. The individuals included:

  • James and Theresa, an open-minded couple in their 30s, who traveled in an RV-motorhome ("pleasure palace") on weekends looking for other swingers ("A record for having sex partners over a period of one weekend is five. Now this weekend, we're going for the record!")
  • Calvin and bisexual Sara, an unmarried couple in their 20s, in a tortured triangle with third member Julie, a bisexual waitress
  • Shannon and Gerard, a married couple in Mississippi whose marriage counselor prescribed swinging as therapy since both had committed adultery

It was mostly a voyeuristic excuse to display on-screen nudity (somewhat staged), sexual experimentation, various sexual games and acts (mostly unexplicit thrusting and oral sex), some traumatic jealousies and trust issues, and to vaguely question the idea of sex beyond marriage -- especially for female participants. For instance, Theresa proposed having breast enhancement to more fairly compete with younger females.

Shark Attack 3: Megalodon (2002)

This low-budget, cheesy Jaws (1975) ripoff, a direct-to-video release, contained one of the most jaw-dropping, unsubtle, double-entendre pick-up lines ever heard in a film. Beach patrolman Ben Carpenter (John Barrowman) spoke bluntly to paleontologist Cataline Stone (Jenny McShane):

Cataline: (sighing) "I'm exhausted."
Ben: "Yeah, me too. But, you know, I'm really wired. Whaddya say I... take you home and eat your pussy."

In the next scene, they were seen at her place showering together and passionately kissing each other.

"Whaddya say I..."

A Snake of June (2002, Jp.) (aka Rokugatsu no hebi)

Writer-director Shinya Tsukamoto's visually-striking, blue-tinted (monochromatic), sex-ploitative and kinky erotic thriller was drenched in rain (a symbol of sexual desire) in every scene (it was set during the rainy season of June), taking on a film-noirish tone. [During the drenching rains in Japan, snakes emerged from their flooded lairs, an allegory for the awakening of the protagonists.]

The main threesome of characters were:

  • Rinko Tatsumi (Asuka Kurosawa), short-haired, compassionate, a suicide hotline mental health counselor, and a sexually-repressed wife
  • Shigehiko (Yuji Kohtari), her compulsively-clean, older, heavy, balding and workaholic husband
  • Iguchi (director Shinya Tsukamoto), a cancer-suffering photographer, a mysterious caller-voyeur

Rinko received a package labeled: "Your Husband's Secrets." Inside were explicit photos of herself (masturbating in the privacy of her own living room by the window when she reclined and lifted her skirt). A second packet revealed photos of her in a short-skirt, masturbating to orgasm in the rain.

She received a phone call from a mysterious caller-voyeur, who turned out to be Iguchi, a former suicidal caller that she had helped. To repay the "debt" of her help, he proposed to liberate her by having her proceed around the anonymous city to designated spots, in an escalating series of sexual dares. Although blackmailing her, he would force her to do what she already wanted to do, but shyed away from due to repression and inhibition.

She began to live out her own fantasies, unashamedly making up for her husband's neglect. She was instructed to wear her mini-skirt (without underwear, removed in a public restroom) into a shopping mall, buy phallic-shaped vegetables, and purchase a remotely-controlled, battery-powered vibrator to be inserted and activated. If she complied, he would return the negatives. He had withheld one picture, and used it as a bargaining chip to have Rinko visit her doctor, where she learned that she had breast cancer.

Rinko's husband Shigehiko attempted to hunt down the voyeuristic stalker, and ultimately became involved when the blackmailer therapeutically brought the couple's dysfunctional sexuality to the surface.

In the finale set in a construction site during another rainstorm, the trio of characters came together. While having her picture taken (with flashbulbs) by Iguchi in his car, she stripped naked in the rain and assertively manipulated herself to orgasm, while her husband also climaxed watching her from his car.

Rinko Tatsumi (Asuka Kurosawa)

Spider-Man (2002)

Director Sam Raimi's comic-book blockbuster Spider-Man (2002) included a much-imitated and spoofed upside-down kiss between masked superhero Spider-Man/Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) and Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) in the downpour rain, after she has been saved by muggers in an alleyway.

He allowed her to peel back the lower part of his mask for their prolonged kiss.

Upside-Down Kiss

Spun (2002)

Music-video director Jonas Åkerlund's raunchy feature film debut, with a record number of fast edits, first played at the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival. It was an arrogant, black tale of amoral behavior consisting of drugs, sex, and addiction in both unrated and R-versions (a heavily censored version with blurring or matting with a black bar, and even audio editing).

It included frantic scenes of drug-addled and addicted Ross (Jason Schwartzman), who was upset about losing his girlfriend Amy (Charlotte Ayana) because of his habit.

The most ugly sequences were with Ross' stripper girlfriend April (Chloe Hunter), whom he brought back from a club to his motel-like apartment, where he kneaded her breasts, and both snorted drugs off her bare chest during a rough love-making bout. He then absent-mindedly (and deliberately) left her spread-eagled, eye-and-mouth duct-taped and handcuffed to the bed for the entire film (a three-day period), as she screamed out: "Motherf--ker!"

April (Chloe Hunter) Stripped and Spread-Eagled on the Bed

Also the tawdry film included:

  • cartoonish sequences that included animated semi-pornographic hard core sex, including an animated vagina, an instance of fisting and anal sex (with a dildo)
  • a scene of male masturbation under a red blanket and into a black sock
  • an explicit bowel movement on the toilet by drug-dealer girlfriend Cookie (Mena Suvari)

April (Chloe Hunter)

Cartoonish Sequences

The Sweetest Thing (2002)

Director Roger Kumble's immature, low-brow, gross-out, R-rated (and unrated) romantic sex comedy, a hugely popular chick flick, told about young single female roommates in the new millennium. It featured a mostly vulgar script by Nancy Pimental (one of the writers of South Park), without a single instance of nudity. Released in two versions, the main difference between the unrated and R version was that the R-rated one skipped the notorious "Penis Song" (based on the song "I'm Too Sexy").

It ended up being a cheap rip-off similar to There's Something About Mary (1998), also starring Cameron Diaz, now portraying SF advertising executive Christina Walters, now teamed up with Christina Applegate as lawyer Courtney Rockcliffe. Typical toilet humor, during their road trip to a wedding, included Courtney attempting to pee in a grungy men's urinal, or the two bikinied gals in front of a mirror in a dressing room with Christina propping up her breasts to show how they were perky at 22, but now beginning to sag at age 28:

Christina: "You know, when I was 22, my breastisses were like, right about there, nice and perky. Gravity has taken them to there... 22, 28, 22, 28, 22, 28."
Courtney (suggesting): "Buy some new ones."

The two gal-pals noticed an unusual odor in the car and concluded that it was coming from someone's unclean "poonanny." While driving, they also pretended that passenger Christina was giving Courtney oral sex, to fool a horny motorcyclist. The two also instructed their innocent and naive roommate, Jane Burns (Selma Blair) on how to snag "Mr. Right."

The raunchy film included a lengthy discussion at a Chinese restaurant between the three after Jane had experienced a night with "a transition guy" - and upon questioning told them that he had an "averagish" girth. They all agreed that it was essential to tell a guy: "Oh, my god, your penis is so big!"

The film then proceeded into an outrageous, extended song and dance scene highlighting "The Penis Song" - a tune about the size of men's penises. At first, they all picked up a glass or vase on the table and pretended that they were penises, while moaning, gesturing and gasping appropriately:

"Your penis is thick! Oh, it's just so pretty. You've got a handsome dick!...And your penis, it's so hard! Your penis is just so large. My body is a movie and your penis is the star. Ah, Ah, Ohhh! You're too big to fit in here!..."

"The Penis Song" then commenced with the entire restaurant joining in:

(Chorus): "You're too big to fit in here, too big to fit in here, too big to fit in here...
What a lovely ride, Your penis is a thrill, Your penis is a Cadillac, A giant Coupe de Ville
Your penis packs a wallop, Your penis brings a load, And when it makes a delivery, It needs its own zip code, Nine - double zero - penis"
"Your penis is so strong, Your penis is so smooth, Your penis has got a rhythm, Your penis makes me groove, Your penis is a dream, The biggest one I've seen, It's oozy and it's green, (spoken) Ewww (spoken) Sorry"
(Chorus twice)
"Your penis is so big, Your penis is so thick, Your penis is so pretty, You've got a handsome dick
Your penis is so hard, Your penis is so large, My body is a movie, And your penis is the star, 'Starring your penis'"
(Chorus twice)

There was also the unlikely degrading situation in which teary-eyed Jane got her new well-endowed male friend's genital piercing caught in her throat while performing fellatio on him (off-screen): "Apparently, they're stuck." It was an almost carbon-copy of the zipper scene in TSAM. When a cop asked: "How is she stuck?", an EMT knowingly answered: "Behind her tonsils." Their predicament attracted a huge audience of onlookers, neighbors, and police, and the singing of "Relax" to extricate her:

"Relax, don't do it, when you wanna get to it, Relax, don't do it, when you wanna come!"

"I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" was more effective as a solution to their embarrassing problem.

Courtney (Christina Applegate)

Christina (Cameron Diaz)

The Penis Song

Genital Piercing Problem During Oral Sex

swimfan (2002)

Director John Polson's watered-down PG-13 rated, inferior redo of Fatal Attraction (1987) and Basic Instinct (1992) was a teen slasher intended for young audiences with actors who were supposedly high-school age, but actually in their 20s. The title of the film referred to the Internet screen name, 'swimfan85' of the film's femme fatale.

The plot was basically about a threesome of students:

  • Ben Cronin (Jesse Bradford), a New Jersey high school senior and star swimmer
  • Amy Miller (Shiri Appleby), Ben's adorable and loving brunette girlfriend
  • Madison Bell (Erika Christensen), blonde new girl

Ben was tempted into having sex with Madison. During a pool swim, after she watched him do laps, she stripped down to a red bra and panties, descended into the water, and told him: "I can't swim. Show me how?" During the teasing scene, she seduced him at the edge of a swimming pool, touched him underwater, and encouraged him, although he was hesitant: "It's OK, I want you to...It's alright. It'll be our little secret." She felt his growing erection and added: "Or maybe not." As their kissing became more passionate, she forced him to profess his love for her: "Tell me you love me. You don't have to mean it. Just say it for me." He gasped: "I love you."

When she was soon rejected, this predictably set up the thriller aspect, although Madison had continually claimed that their affair was a one-time thing. She engaged in stalking, threats, and violence (multiple murders).

In the finale, Madison handcuffed Amy to a chair, and summoned Ben to meet her at the pool by paging him with the invite: "Feel like a dip?"

Ben saved Amy (after she was thrown into the pool, as he struggled with Madison, wielding a bat, while he picked the lock with Madison's own hair-pin), and angrily threw Madison into the pool. As he administered CPR to Amy, Madison died by drowning because she couldn't swim.

Madison Bell (Erika Christensen)

Talk to Her (2002, Sp./Fr.) (aka Hable con ella)

This Spanish film, with an Oscar-winning Best Original Screenplay by writer/director Pedro Almodovar, was about solitude, sickness, sacrifice and madness. It told about the relationships of two strangers with their comatose would-be loves:

  • Benigno Martin (Javier Camara), a young male nurse, very obsessed and unhealthy
  • Alicia (Leonor Watling), a long-comatose, voluptuous, classically-trained ballerina

  • Marco (Dario Grandinetti), a journalist
  • Lydia (Rosario Flores), an unconscious gored bullfighter

At El Bosque Clinic, Benigno gave daily, attentive sponge baths to Alicia following her car accident, while Marco also took care of hospitalized Lydia.

In one disturbing scene, Benigno had non-consensual intercourse with his comatose patient - making her pregnant and subsequently reawakening her due to the physical changes that occurred.

The film also featured a disturbing dream sequence (a 7 minute B/W mock silent movie titled "The Shrinking Lover" that was attended one evening by Benigno) in which Benigno found himself (metaphorically) as a shrunken scientist while trying to make love to beautiful Amparo (Paz Vega). Miniature in size, he agonized over not being able to satisfy her. After he explored all over her naked body, he entered into her vagina (a simulated model) (a return to the womb) for safety to escape being crushed by her giant body turning over onto him.

The Shrinking Lover - 7-Minute Dream Sequence with Amparo (Paz Vega)

Alicia (Leonor Watling)

Unfaithful (2002)

Classy soft-core film director Adrian Lyne's erotic drama dealt with the disastrous consequences of a wild extra-marital affair, with its subsequent guilt, suspicion, and tragedy, although it also made adultery look sexy and exciting. It was a reworking of director Claude Chabrol's La Femme Infidele (1969, Fr.) (aka The Unfaithful Wife).

It told about an adulterous affair, including various passionate, 'unfaithful' encounters in NYC, between:

  • Constance "Connie" Sumner (Diane Lane), a wayward and straying NY suburban housewife
  • Paul Martel (Olivier Martinez), a Frenchman and rare bookdealer

Their cheating threatened her marriage of eleven years to her husband Edward (Richard Gere). There were many scenes of their trysts, including:

  • their first encounter - she was swept off her feet and taken to Paul's bedroom, where he kissed her bare stomach and between her legs before removing her panties for sex (she recollected their lovemaking on the train-ride home, remembered saying: "I don't know how to do this. This is wrong," before they struggled, slapped each other, and then she succumbed) [Note: the film garnered an Oscar-nominated performance for Lane, most probably for this non-sexual scene of her return-home train ride when she recollected every emotion (ranging from joy to guilt) of the first sexual encounter on her face - filmed in a continuous take]
  • hasty sex against a creaky wooden wall in a restaurant's toilet stall during a luncheon with her married girlfriends (they noticed afterwards: "You have a button undone")
  • sex in Paul's place again, where he removed her dress, unhooked her black bra from behind, and cupped her breasts (although the scene ended there)
  • oral sex for her in an empty movie theatre, seen as only a head/shoulders shot
  • a rear-entry love-making encounter (semi-rape) in his apartment hallway, when she protested: "No, no I can't" - but became caught up in the passion

The repercussions of the affair, once discovered by Ed, led him to angrily kill Martel (crushing his skull with a snowglobe - a gift he had once given Connie), and their efforts to cover up for each other (each knowing that the other one was guilty) after police found the body.

The Murder Weapon: A Snowglobe

The film ended enigmatically with the two of them in their car at an intersection (with several cycles of a changing stoplight) discussing what to do (while their son slept). Ed was thinking of turning himself in (although Connie was dissuading him by dreamily suggesting that they leave the country, get a beach house, and take different names: "We can spend the rest of our lives on that beach, and when we die, we can just push out to sea. What do you think?" He responded: "Perfect, sounds perfect"). Finally, the camera pulled back to reveal that they were parked outside a police station - their crimes went unpunished.

Parked Outside a Police Station - What Next?

[Note: In one alternate ending, one of many considered, Ed definitely said his goodbyes and proceeded to enter.]

Husband Edward (Richard Gere)

"Connie" Sumner (Diane Lane)

Passionate Love-Making

Train Ride Home

In Restaurant Toilet

In Theatre

Apartment Hallway

Sex in Cinematic History
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