This brooding Anglo-French erotic drama concerns the obsessive sexual relationship between an English politician and his son’s lover.
Stephen Fleming (Jeremy Irons), an up-and-coming Tory MP, has a beautiful and loving wife, Ingrid (Miranda Richardson), and two children, including son Martyn (Rupert Graves), a successful journalist.
Sparks fly when Stephen meets beautiful art-world denizen Anna Barton (Juliette Binoche), Martyn’s new girlfriend.
A measured, seemingly passionless man who believes that life can be controlled, Stephen suddenly finds himself unable to resist brief but intense liaisons with the mysterious, melancholy Anna.
Eventually, she explains the palpable air of sadness that hangs over her: When she was 15, her beloved older brother committed suicide because he could not possess her.
“Remember,” Anna warns Stephen, “Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.”
Drawn to Anna and the passion she engenders in him, Stephen tries to justify his betrayal by telling himself Martyn isn’t serious about Anna. He is stunned when the two announce their engagement.
On the advice of Anna’s mother (Leslie Caron), who sees right through the charade, Stephen tries to break things off. But soon the affair resumes with full force, eventually destroying several lives.
Although the stark, frank sex scenes in Damage were trimmed to attain an R rating for theatrical release, the original, uncut version is available on DVD.
Dr Stephen Fleming
Trevor Leigh Davies MP