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At the beginning of the movie, Alex could have had any man in the room. She choose the wimpy Dan even though she knew he was married. She then sexually aggressively seduced him.

After then Dan wants to go back to his wife and she becomes clingy. Did she now expect Dan to leave his wife? As I see it, the woman who is given a man’s name, doing business like a man, mating like a man. I would have expected her to act like a man and treat this as a one night stand. To me she become suddenly clingy and suddenly falls for this uninteresting partner. That seems very uncharacteristic.

What was Alex's goal when she tried and seduced Dan?

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    Your question is whether Alex expected Dan to leave his wife for her, but your main point of confusion seems to be why Alex was attracted to Dan in the first place.
    – F1Krazy
    Jun 11, 2023 at 12:24
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    What in the world is this supposed to mean: “the woman who is given a man’s name, doing business like a man, mating like a man”?? Jun 11, 2023 at 15:42
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    @ToddWilcox while I'm not a fan of gender stereotypes, and I do agree that this is worded a little funny, its clear the OP is making a parallel between Alex typically behaving like a man whose been having an affair with a women, up until a point. It is often depicted that men who engage in this behavior are fine with things like one night stands, where Alex clearly isn't. So the question for the OP is about why Alex engaged in this perceived to be "male" behavior, if she couldn't handle typical results? Jun 13, 2023 at 11:24
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    @DarthLocke I didn’t get what the “male” behavior Alex engaged in was? What’s the “male” behavior that Alex exhibited? I’d almost say that equating sex with love is more stereotypically feminine than masculine Jun 13, 2023 at 12:35
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    The sexism in this question astounds me Jun 13, 2023 at 13:03

2 Answers 2

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It’s very common in American films to treat love as a powerful overwhelming force. I assume that’s because most of us actually experience love that way.

Common philosophy of love includes the idea that we cannot choose whom we love. It’s also widely believed that when we feel a powerful love for someone, it is difficult to control our thoughts and even our actions, and we are prone to acting irrationally because of this powerful emotion and attraction that we feel.

So it is with Fatal Attraction. Whether anyone watching the movie believes Alex and Dan are feeling love or just lust for each other, it’s clear that Alex feels it as a strong emotion of love and attraction for Dan. So strong that she acts irrationally, with unrealistic expectations, and eventually becomes so desperate that she is violent.

It’s both believable and cathartic for many viewers because it’s quite common to feel powerful emotions that impel us to act out destructively.

In terms of choosing Dan (whom I don’t think everyone would agree is “wimpy” - Michael Douglas is widely seen as a sexy and charismatic person), “we don’t choose who we love”. It doesn’t matter whether it makes any sense to fall for Dan or not - that’s not how love works (at least in American cinema, but personally I’ve experienced this kind of attraction).

In terms of what Alex expects, it doesn’t have to be rational but if you put her to it, I’m sure she’d say that she does want Dan to leave his wife and be with Alex. This isn’t that unusual an expectation and it has been a choice that many people have made in the real world.

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  • Thank you i can see your point. It seems she drove the entire relationship and showed more personality.. i guess dan showed her something for her to fall in love with. And all bets are offfell in love. I am totally confused by the number of comments talking about Michael Douglas not being a wimp. This seems to imply that since he is a sexy person he cannot play a wimp so he is being called a bad actor?
    – Sparkytx
    Jun 13, 2023 at 0:16
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    @Sparkytx Maybe it would help use understand why you think Dan is a "wimp". He's a successful lawyer. Dan physically overpowers Alex on multiple occasions, including when she is holding a knife and he is unarmed, so he has both the will and the strength to do so. I can't think of anything about him that is wimpy. Jun 13, 2023 at 2:08
  • i am referring to the first part of the movie. Dan says he is married but has the one night stand anyway. He weakly tries to stop seeing alex again but can help himself. I would say the fault for the situation falls totally on him. Have i remember it correctly?
    – Sparkytx
    Jun 15, 2023 at 0:22
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    @Sparkytx Dan's behavior in the first part of the movie is not at all what I would consider "wimpy". You and I probably have two different ideas of what it means to be a wimp. I'm not sure what most people think a wimp is, but maybe Alex sees Dan more the way I see him and she doesn't see him the way you see him. Jun 18, 2023 at 19:08
  • Todd, do you find Dan’s behavior of cheating on his family acceptable or an expected alpha male behavior? I do not. May that is where we disagree. Personally, as a married man, i would have had the strength not to get told by my d**k what to do. Dan apparently did not. He did not have the strength to stand up to his sexual urges. Maybe wimp is a bad choice of words
    – Sparkytx
    Aug 13, 2023 at 13:01
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Alex doesn't know. Alex acted on impulse and I don't believe she was prepared to develope feelings for Dan. Alex wants Dan to accept her and reciprocate her strong feelings. She has a debilitating fear of rejection. Alex wants in a few days what took time for Dan's current partner to have with him. Alex wants Dan to revert back to his 20s and practice serial monogamy. She is selfish and immature and honestly she would probably faint if Dan said "OK I'm leaving her, let's run away together".

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  • Interesting, thank you for a thoughtful reply
    – Sparkytx
    Aug 13, 2023 at 13:02

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