There is no doubt that we are wrapped up in the myths and the reality of extramarital affairs. Some of our horrifying thrillers and what are dubbed the greatest love stories of all time. We are fascinated by the way that people react to affairs and even though we tend to demonize one party or another in order to make the cheating okay (or to make it more monstrous) there is no denying that it’s a useful trope that people who make movies like to use. Extramarital affairs tend to draw out something deep inside of us and it draws at our primal instincts.
This one is a crazy movie, but considering that it’s thirteen years up now, we’re not going to throw up a spoiler warning. Harrison Ford is cheating on his wife, Michelle Pfeiffer, with one of his students. Or rather, he was cheating on her with one of his students. The student is long gone by the time that the movie starts and you can start seeing that break down occurring early on in the movie. It’s a great movie even though the cheating isn’t the focus of it. It’s more a jumping off point than anything else and if they had stuck more with Harrison Ford’s potential madness and less with the supernatural mumbo-jumbo, it would have been higher on this list.
This film was so popular that now when you hear about someone who’s a Dog Whisperer or a Fox Whisperer or an anything whisperer, they’re referencing this movie and the book it was based off of. Starring Robert Redford, the movie (and the book) detail out the conflicted feelings of a woman who is drawn to another man while she is married. It’s a soft and sympathetic look about extramarital affairs even if it can err more on the traditional side of things. It’s one of those movies that everyone went to go see, but if you ask about the cheating part they can’t seem to remember that…
This is a movie where they demonize the husband. Of course Daisy would cheat on Tom when she’s given a chance with Gatsby, right? The movie and the book that it was based off of are complex beasts and it would be a shame to try to dissect it all within a short paragraph, but it beautifully captures that high of an affair and the dangers of letting that high go too far. Communication is important and you need to make sure you’re not idealizing someone into more than they actually are. Still, Gatsby is seen as a hero in the movie and you know who you’re rooting for right off the bat whether you approve of cheating or not.
It seems that in order to justify cheating there needs to be a long and detailed love story behind it in most cases. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Notebook. Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams are kept apart by cruel machinations and a misplaced faith in the class structure. There is a beauty to the story, we’re not denying it and you can tell that Ally and Noah are meant for each other, but there’s no doubt that she was cheating and we were rooting for the guy she was cheating with. It’s something that we can all understand, the longing for a love that you didn’t get to finish properly and the conflicted feelings that you feel when you see them again. Hell, it’s enough to drive anyone to an affair with Ryan Gosling.
We just realized that this was our second movie about cheating with Leonardo DiCaprio as the star, but if we’re going to be honest there are a lot of women who would be unfaithful for the sake of Leonardo DiCaprio. Titanic is considered one of the most romantic films of all time and one of the best films of all time, but it centers all around a girl who’s cheating on her fiancé with a man that she just met. It’s not really what we would recommend for a discreet affair, but it captures the intense passion and the connection that you can feel with someone you just met versus someone that you’ve found yourself getting used to. Once again, everyone was rooting for the guy who was coming in to steal the girl and while part of this is the demonizing of the fiancé, it’s time for us to admit that we all like the unique thrill of watching someone escape a dull marriage to find exactly what they need in their life.
And in the end, isn’t that what affairs are for?