📺 Where to watch: Paramount+ from May 1st
⭐️ Our evaluation: 2/5
🍿 Watch it if you liked it: You, Castle Rock Season 2, The Deal
🎭 Who’s in it?: Joshua Jackson, Lizzy Caplan, Amanda Peet, Alyssa Jirrels
⏰ How long is it? 8 x 1 hour episodes (first two available at launch, then weekly)
Convicted of murder, jailed for 15 years and on parole, Dan Gallagher (Joshua Jackson) invites his daughter Ellen (Alyssa Jirrels) to attend the hearing – still haunted by the specter of Alex Forrest (Lizzy Caplan) and the Fatal Attraction who brought behind bars.
Nominated for six Academy Awards in 1988, Adrian Lyne’s original film raised the currency of A-lister Michael Douglas (Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania) and propelled Glenn Close (Tehran) to the top of world-class character actors.
Any reboot, even with original screenwriter James Dearden in tow, is a risky proposition, fraught with potential pitfalls.
To know more: Everything we know about the Fatal Attraction remake
What showrunner Alexandra Cunningham (Desperate Housewives) and her Oscar-nominated wingman have concocted here seeks to broaden the debate around mental disorders and workplace coercion, rather than making this story solely about infidelity within a wedding.
Fatal Attraction for a New Generation looks more like a morality tale, with Deputy District Attorney Dan Gallagher portrayed as a bastion of restraint. Equal parts doting father and loving husband, with only the ambition and legacy of a successful father there to provide an Achilles heel.
Gone are the illicit bonding and one night stand excitement that so drove the original, only for professional jealousy to deliver an equally potent aphrodisiac in this updated version. There are a few key moments that remain, but overall, both Joshua Jackson (The Affair) and Lizzy Caplan (Fleishman is in Trouble) manage to create something unique with these characters.
To know more: Glenn Close reflects on the Fatal Attraction character
While their first physical connection is delayed for as long as possible, their eventual consummation creates few sparks on screen. For two people in a tacky relationship, there is minimal chemistry between them. If anything, their steamy sessions are the least interesting element of Fatal Attraction, which is inevitably ironic on so many levels.
Something else that becomes apparent after two episodes, is how little today’s drama between Dan and his daughter Ellen means when their reconciliation takes a back seat.
As a subplot designed to give momentum to today’s timeline, it feels underdeveloped and flimsy, while those flashback sequences do a good job of shaping Alex and Dan’s pivotal relationship, even if Fatal Attraction feels more and more like two hours of the material. feature film spanned eight.
Elsewhere, Lizzy Caplan may succeed in expanding the iconic femme fatale modeled by Glenn Close, but her hands are tied as the all-important mental decline is rarely given enough screen time. Joshua Jackson also faces the struggles of him filling those Michael Douglas-sized shoes on his way to playing Dan Gallagher.
To know more: The controversial original ending of Fatal Attraction
Other issues holding up this reimagining of the ’80s thriller boil down to pacing. From the start, events feel almost pedestrian as they play out across both timelines. Amanda Peet gets little to no character development as Beth Gallagher, while Toby Huss feels equally little changed as best friend and confidante Mike Gerard. It’s an issue that becomes even more pronounced as the pacing issues persist and any tension is eased.
What this means for the audience is a lot of anticipation, as furtive stares and tantalizing eye contact take a long time to get any traction of this show. Some scenes feel cut off, while others have limited narrative purpose and fail to move things around. This inconsistency only makes each episode feel longer than its allotted hour, as audiences will struggle to invest in a show that is mediocre at best.
As sheer twists pull back the curtain and strip Alex of her mystique, this show takes another blow that ultimately promotes indifference rather than empathy. Since that inability to connect with people and form fictitious friendships instead, it does little to empower this pivotal character.
What other critics thought of Fatal Attraction
The casing: Fatal Attraction elevates the original premise with more tempo and nuance (6 minute read)
Evening standard: Tepid remake of the classic hot bunny (4 minute read)
For many this will be the biggest disappointment here, as Lizzy Caplan has proven time and time again that she is gifted at creating empathy with her audience. Whether through Annie Wilkes in Castle Rock season 2 or elsewhere, the actor possesses an inherent vulnerability and on-screen intelligence that tempers any unwelcome traits. He’s a talent he seems unable to tap into here, as those redeeming qualities that are intentionally designed to address a larger issue rarely feel acknowledged.
Indeed, such is the degree of disinterest in Fatal Attraction after three hours of television that the emotional investment, critical to engaging any audience, leaves this series in dramatic limbo, turning a thin slice of Oscar-nominated writing into a short story of social reporting. toothless.
Fatal Attraction will be available to stream on Paramount+ in the UK from 1st May.