Would you cheat on Keira Knightley?
Of course not, right? She’s one of the most beautiful women in movies — talented, successful, Oscar-nominated. Her beau Rupert Friend would be a fool to step out on her (though I’m sure he has had plenty of offers).
So Sam Worthington must be some kind of fool. At least his character must be in the upcoming film, Last Night, a Miramax production whose release date is up in the air after the company’s dissolution earlier this year. In the movie, the Avatar/Clash of the Titans star and Knightley play a sort of happily married couple who gets caught up in a wicked game of secrets and lies. Worthington is tempted by a coworker played by Eva Mendes — the casting department must have figured that if you’re going to succumb to carnal desire and risk losing Knightley, it should be with someone worth the risk — and Knightley gives more than a sideways glance to Guillaume Canet, a French actor (and the boyfriend of Oscar winner Marion Cotillard) who’d make an angel want to cheat.
Three things struck me when I first read about this film. First, where has Keira Knightley been since 2008’s The Duchess? Second, beautiful people get cheated on, too. Infidelity isn’t just about not being satisfied with what you’ve got at home. It’s about wanting to have your cake and eat it, too. Just because you are with the most gorgeous woman — or guy — in the world, doesn’t mean you suddenly have tunnel vision. I only have eyes for you is a sentiment that exists only in song.
The third thing that struck me is that the movie acknowledges that women aren’t just victims when it comes to infidelity. They’re tempted, too. (Usually, in infidelity-themed films, like Unfaithful, or Fatal Attraction, or Damage, or Closer, the cheated-on partner is made to look a bit too angelic and devoted.) Although recent celebrity stories would have you believe differently, men aren’t always the ones who do the fooling around while the women sit at home being perfect little wives. (See LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian.)
Remember the scene in Eyes Wide Shut in which Nicole Kidman enlightened Tom Cruise on what it feels like for a girl? “If you men only knew,” she taunted, before detailing an extramarital lust she once had that was so strong she would have dumped her family and given in to it had the object of her attention offered any sign that it might have been worth her while. The rest of the movie lost me, but I’ll never forget that powerful onscreen exchange between the then-married Cruises.
SPOILER ALERT! From what I’ve read about the Last Night script online, both Worthington and Knightley end up giving in to temptation. His actions are purely physical, hers are emotional, which to some renders her transgression much worse. I’m not sure I agree. From what I’ve been told by many people in open relationships, fooling around is okay as long as emotions don’t get involved.
My burning questions: Do we really have that much control over our emotions? Can we just turn them on and off? What if you fall into bed with someone and somewhere between undressing and post-coital small talk, something clicks, and you realize that there is something in the air that’s more than the smell of sex? Yes, you could walk away, and if you do and move on to the next hot body, does that really make you a better person? Anyone who has ever connected with a one-night stand only to never hear from him or her again (that the person was probably in a relationship is the excuse usually given by concerned friends) might not think so.
Or what if you are attracted physically and emotionally to someone who is not your significant other, and one night after too many glasses of wine, you act on your romantic impulses? Have you broken the rules of the open relationship? Isn’t the entire point of an open relationship to not be tied down by rules — to not be a romantic possession, to ultimately remain with your partner out of true desire and not out of guilt or obligation? There should not be levels of sexual flings outside of a relationship, and since the partner who is not doing the flinging can never be 100 per cent certain about the level of emotion involved, as long as there is full, honest disclosure of what happened, he or she should either accept it completely or incorporate traditional boundaries into the relationship.
The movie is sure to push a lot of buttons and raise a lot of questions, if and when it finally gets released. I hope it does, as much because I’m curious to see how the action plays out onscreen, as because of the four principals. Any two hours spent looking at Knightley, Worthington, Mendes and Canet is time well spent. If only we all had such tempting, desirable romantic options.