How well can you really know the one you love? Oscar¬(r) nominee* Nicholas Kazan explores this question in his "sensuous, deadly game of romantic cat-and-mouse" (Roger Ebert) that features "terrific" (The Hollywood Reporte... more »r) performances by James Spader and M√§dchen Amick and weaves "a tight web of suspense" (Playboy)! After a bitter divorce, wealthy architect Ray (Spader) fears he'll never love again until he bumps into sexy, sophisticated Lena (Amick) and sparks begin to fly. Before long, they are happily married and have a family. But when Ray's suspicious nature gets the best of him and he begins to investigate Lena's past, what he finds may not only threaten the state of their marriage but also Ray's life! *1990: Adapted Screenplay, Reversal of Fortune« less
"Here is a quietly intriguing obscurity starring James Spader as lonely divorcee Ray Reardon, an architect looking to build a relationship.
A little too conveniently, Ray meets Lena Mathers, played by a convincingly mysterious Maedchen Amick (more recently seen in "The List"). Lena not so accidently bumps into Ray at a party, where he's been set up with a desperately shrill loser he is trying to politely ditch. After a hostile first meet due to a spilled drink, Ray sees Lena again at the local market, and there begins the end of a uneventful lonely life for Ray Reardon.
After a few dates, and some artful and acrobatic lovemaking scenes worthy of a "Kamma Sutra" addendum, the couple marries in a passionate whirlwind. (Incidently, I read that James Spader worked out heavily for the explicit nude scenes, and I must say, it was worth it to watch the film for that alone). After Ray makes Lena Mrs. Reardon, she soon has his baby, after which, some suspicions arise. It seems that the "Dream Lover" of the title, is not the same inside, as the "petite dark and beautiful" facade Ray assumed to be genuine through and through. Things aren't adding up, and soon Spader's Ray becomes insecure, anxious and riddled with jealousy. He sets out on a mission to clarify the facts, and alleviate the doubts. Does Ray accomplish this daunting task? You'll have to see for yourself.
As always, the softly handsome Spader, a personal favorite, makes a terrific victim for the stronger, more devious personality, much like in Curtis Hansons "Bad Influence"(see my review), or against rival John Cusack in "True Colors". We find ourselves rooting for Ray, even when he does things he shouldn't, because we are sympathetic to how he's been duped. Maedchen Amick is worthy of Hitchcockian ice-princess status as Lena Mathers, (although Hitchcocks were invariably blondes). She is darkly forboding, and deliciously sexy in her ingenious seduction of Ray. She hooks him with seemingly well practiced expertise, only to turn into an evil witch, thus ruining any "Ray" of hope for the fairy tale meeting and marriage.
As far as the subject of endings go, this one left me a bit puzzled. I'm not sure I buy it, but that's only my opinion. Let's face it, the story plot is not terribly original, yet somehow, it comes off that way regardless.
One thing is certain, "Dream Lover" is a very interesting character study, and a quietly sexy noir thriller that will not disappoint, particularly for those who enjoy the sympathetic character performances of James Spader."
Two-thumbs DOwN cut version
e5150 | 06/06/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"MGM has made the weak decision to release this wonderful film in the cut-to-shreds R-rated version, instead of the Special Unrated Version, in all its original uncut unrated splendor. MGM blows! Don't waste your money, just wait for the Special Unrated Version. Some company of worth will release it soon, we hope!"
Spader should've gotten at least a nomination for this film.
e5150 | United States | 06/03/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"...because his performance here is spot-on perfect, especially when the suspicion starts to brew. You can truly feel his anguish. Madchen Amick is also in the groove as her psychosis slowly comes to fruition. The secondary characters are thankfully left in the background, as they're not very interesting and the focus is kept on the burgeoning tension between man and wife. When Spader finally snaps you wish you were there with him laying the smack down.
That they didn't release the unrated version is a travesty, but fortunately no plot is lost in this version (only some great nudity and hot sex with Madchen). At any rate this dvd is worth it for James Spader's performance of a lifetime, and the superb if unoriginal story."
Special Unrated Version???
e5150 | 04/15/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Dream Lover" on VHS, was available as both the cut-to-shreds R-rated version, and as the Special Unrated Version, which was absolutely superior. I cannot get an answer from MGM, so I wonder, will this yet-to-be-released R-rated DVD be the two-thumbs down cut version, or has MGM made the only worthwhile decision to release this wonderful film in all its uncut unrated splendor (!)???"
Waiting for Unrated Version
Peter M. Tang | San Diego | 05/26/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The story is quite engrossing. With the incredibly sexy Madchen Amick and excellent acting by James Spader this movie is a must watch. However, I am waiting for the unrated version before I buy."