When a friend heard that I was re-watching Adrian Lyne's (Fatal Attraction, Nine ½ Weeks) Indecent Proposal she stated, "I guess it seems a little out dated now". I sorta laughed it off, but after thinking about it a bit I realized that the film had held up well. Next up was the task of trying to figure out why.
When this film was released in 1993 it prompted almost every couple in America to ask the same question that Diana and David faced. Would you accept $1 million to allow your partner to spend one evening with someone? A moral conundrum. A tricky question as both sides of the situation has things to deal with. The film goes a long way to proving that even a seemingly secure marriage can be put into jeopardy if you were to choose to go ahead and do it.
Diana (Demi Moore – G.I. Jane, A Few Good Men) and David Murphy (Woody Harrelson – from television's Cheers) seem to all who observe them to have a perfect marriage. They got married young, Diana was only 19, and have been married for 7 years. Still deeply in love, Diana sells real estate and David is an architect. They have a house and have bought a plot of land on which David plans to build their dream house. Life is good.
The recession hits the United States. Financial troubles hit the young couple as David is laid off and no one is buying houses. The bank is going to repossess their plot of land if they don't come up with $50,000. In a last ditch effort they head over to Las Vegas to try to win the money they need. After winning $25,000 the first day they hit a dry streak and lose all their money. The future looks grim.
Their luck seems about to change when Diana catches the eye of billionaire John Gage (Robert Redford – A River Runs Through It, Up Close & Personal). After inviting them to a party at his suite, Gage makes the couple an offer that at first offends them and then intrigues them. Gage, being a businessman, believes that everything can be bought and as such offers the couple $1 million to spend one evening with Diana. After at first refusing the offer the couple, realizing what the money could do for them, accept it. Now they have to deal with the consequences.
This is not the best film out there. It is not even director Adrian Lyne's best film. But it is a nice diversion and contains that moral question, "What would you do in their position?" You can't help getting into the film when you see what the decision does to this couple with a strong relationship. A strength of the film is that it doesn't judge either of the characters. No one is the bad guy here. They are just normal humans having to deal with big questions. It doesn't matter that the scenario is fairly implausible. The film works because everyone who watches has an opinion about what they would do. It is interesting to most to ponder the question.