In this updated Gothic romance about which two women competing for the attentions of a darkly dangerous man, a psychiatrist stands in for the usual governess and there's a discarded girlfriend rather than a deranged wife in the attic. Newly divorced Dr. Tess Palmer (Jobeth Williams) is in a vulnerable frame of mind and buries herself in the problems of others. One unbalanced patient, Carla Simmons (Virginia Madsen), confesses to feelings of hopelessness over her relationship with a long-time beau, but Tess can't figure out how much of Carla's venting is delusional projection. Tess goes to a party and flirts with English professor Paul Tomlinson (Pierce Brosnan), who can do a mean fox trot and quote Poe. Tess is swept off her feet, though Carla's subsequent suicide attempt brings her back to Earth. Then Tess discovers that the high-strung Carla's Mr. Wrong is Paul. Carla torments Tess with the sordid details of her affair with the then-married man Paul and hints that he may have had something to do with his wife's fatal hiking accident, about which she seems to know an awful lot. Though Paul appears too charming and urban to be a cold-blooded murderer, Tess doesn't doubt that he could be a two-timing cad. Paul has a reasonable response to every one of crazed Carla's accusations, and after some vacillation Tess begins to accept his explanations. During a romantic idyll, Tess accepts Paul's proposal of marriage. Inevitably, Carla turns up again, filled with warnings that Tess is in danger. If Tess intends to walk down the aisle with Paul, she must decide once and for all whether Carla is a crazed stalker or a friend in need. To its credit, this formulaic, made-for-TV mystery does a good job of maintaining ambiguity about Paul and Carla's true colors, but the love triangle never smolders and in the end the film is more Harlequin romance than Hitchcockian thriller.
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- Released: 1991
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: In this updated Gothic romance about which two women competing for the attentions of a darkly dangerous man, a psychiatrist stands in for the usual governess and there's a discarded girlfriend rather than a deranged wife in the attic. Newly divorced Dr. T… (more)
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