When the movie “Fatal Attraction” was released in 1987, it was an immediate success. It grossed over $320 million worldwide against a budget of $14 million. In the U.S. alone, the movie grossed over $150 million. It was the highest grossing film of the year worldwide, and the second highest grossing movie in the U.S.
Along with all the success, however, came a lot of criticism. For those who are not very familiar with the movie, it is a thriller starring Michael Douglas and Glenn Close. The description of the movie is as follows:
“For Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas), life is good. He is on the rise at his New York law firm, is happily married to his wife, Beth (Anne Archer), and has a loving daughter. But, after a casual fling with a sultry book editor named Alex (Glenn Close), everything changes. Jilted by Dan, Alex becomes unstable, her behavior escalating from aggressive pursuit to obsessive stalking. Dan realizes that his main problem is not hiding his affair, but rather saving himself and his family”.
There are many movies that include obsessed, unhinged women, though none seems to have had more discussions and controversy than “Fatal Attraction”. Many specialists in the mental health community believe that the character, Alex, exhibited symptoms seen in people with Borderline Personality Disorder and sympathize with her. Many also believe that the way the character was written only helped to spread stigma on the condition and mental illness over all. The actress who played the role of Alex, Glenn Close, who has a sister with bipolar disorder, has stated about her character,
Recently, after more than 30 years since the release of “Fatal Attraction”, it has been announced that a television series adaptation of the film is in the works. It is set to air on Paramount+, with the story now being told “through the lens of modern attitudes toward strong women, personality disorders, and coercive control“. Views on mental illnesses have definitely improved since the 1980s, however, stigma does still persist. Proof of this can unfortunately still be seen in the media. The movie “Split”, which has received backlash from those familiar with dissociative identity disorder in the mental health community, was released in 2016. Also, this year has seen over 300 mass shootings in my country, the U.S., and some blame it on mental illness. We clearly still have a long way to go when it comes to dealing with mental health stigma. I would hate for the new Fatal Attraction show to be another piece of media simply adding to it.
What are your thoughts on this? See you in the next post.