The Other Man (2008 film)

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The Other Man
US DVD cover.
Directed byRichard Eyre
Produced byFrank Doelger
Michael Dreyer
Tracey Scoffield
Written byRichard Eyre
Charles Wood
Bernhard Schlink (short story)
StarringLiam Neeson
Antonio Banderas
Laura Linney
Music byStephen Warbeck
CinematographyHaris Zambarloukos
Edited byTariq Anwar
Rainmark Films
Distributed byImage Entertainment
Release date
  • September 7, 2008 (2008-09-07) (Toronto International Film Festival)
  • October 17, 2008 (2008-10-17) (London Film Festival)
  • December 3, 2008 (2008-12-03) (premiere)
  • September 25, 2009 (2009-09-25) (limited)
Running time
88 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
United States
Budget$15 million
Box office$1.1 million

The Other Man is a 2008 British-American drama film directed by Richard Eyre. It stars Liam Neeson and Antonio Banderas as competitors for a woman's (Laura Linney) love. Released in 2008, the film was a box office bomb, earning just over $1 million against its $15 million budget.


In Cambridge, Lisa (Linney) is a shoe designer, happily married for the last 25 years to Peter (Neeson), a software CEO. They have a daughter, Abigail (Romola Garai). Lisa frequently travels to Milan to do business with the Gianni & Gianni Company.

After Lisa dies, Peter is rooting around his house in an attempt to rid himself of Lisa's stuff and help deal with the grief. Abigail takes one of her mother's shoes and pulls a piece of paper out of it, saying it was for Peter to find. On the paper is written "Lake Como". Soon after this, Peter finds a strange message on her cell phone from a man, wishing only to hear Lisa's voice. It creates a tension in the mind of Peter. When he checks her e-mails he finds several similar requests from "Ralph". He also finds on her computer a folder named "Love", which is password protected. It creates a strong suspicion in his mind that she has had a secret affair and that her lover is mailing her now. He tries to open the folder by guessing the password, but in vain.

Peter wrongly accuses one of Lisa's co-workers named Ralph of being her lover. He replies to the mails of Ralph pretending to be Lisa. He asks one of his co-workers to find out the real name and location of the sender of these e-mails by tracing his IP address through his email address. His co-worker tells him that Ralph has an address in Milan. Peter continues to try to access the "Love" folder on Lisa's computer, and becomes increasingly frustrated. When he types "Lake Como" as the password, the folder opens. It contains many photos of her with a man in intimate moments and near Lake Como.

In order to find out more about his wife's lover, he locates and secretly follows Ralph (Banderas) in Milan. He then goes to a café, one of Ralph's haunts, and begins to play chess alone. Ralph (pronounced "Rafe" he learns) engages him in conversation, and they begin to play chess and talk. Ralph easily speaks about Lisa and their relationship, unaware that Peter is Lisa's husband. Ralph tells him that it is he who has suggested she start a shoe designing business after perceiving her unique understanding of shoes and her passion towards different new designs, which the industry lacks. Over a period of time, they play several games of chess and, as far as Ralph is concerned, have a friendship.

Abigail learns of her mother's affair, while listening to her mother's voicemail, and deduces her father's frightening obsession with vengeance. She goes to Milan and tries to convince her father to stop hunting for Lisa’s lover as she had already gone, as well as to accept her partner George (who is a scruffy musician). She also warns him that his craziness will lead him to lose everything, including his daughter, career and friends.

Peter becomes greatly upset and he goes uninvited, with murderous intent, to Ralph's apartment. There, to his surprise, he learns that Ralph is not the cosmopolitan man of the world as he has been portraying himself, but an impoverished janitor. Peter's hate diminishes, but not his urge to avenge. He sends an e-mail, as Lisa, to Ralph, asking that he meet her at Lake Como. Ralph tells Peter about his upcoming meeting, and Peter gives him money to enable the meeting. Ralph also plans to throw a party for Lisa in London, as he sees this latest meeting as a sign that their relationship is taking off.

Ralph goes to Lake Como, but instead of finding Lisa there, Ralph finds Peter waiting for him. Peter reveals to Ralph that he was Lisa's husband, and that Lisa is actually dead. Ralph tells Peter that Lisa had known about his humble background and helped him financially on several occasions. He also forces Peter to confront that it is his excessive devotion for his work and cold nature towards marital life, which had moved Lisa to seek warmth in Ralph's arms, but still loving Peter so much that she never was ready to leave him, in spite of cheating with Ralph. Throughout this conversation, it is shown through flashbacks that Lisa died of cancer, and that she did not tell Peter about it until 'it was too late'.

It is then revealed in flashback that when Lisa was critically ill and about to die, she wrote something on a piece of paper and asked her daughter to put it in one of her red shoes so that one day Peter would find it. Lisa instructs Abigail not to tell him about the note, and assures her that he will definitely look for it and find it on his own one day. This is the piece of paper with "Lake Como" on it seen earlier.

When Ralph had asked her to tell Peter about their affair, end their marriage and move in with him, Lisa refused, saying that she did not want to hurt Peter and make him endure the pain of separation. She promised to reveal her dark secret to Peter at the appropriate time in her life so that he can forgive her for her infidelity. Peter and Ralph part, with Peter seemingly more bitter and upset than ever.

Ralph has arranged a dinner in Lisa's memory, and at first, Peter refuses to go. However, he realises that "forgiveness and love need to replace hate", and arranges to be at the dinner with Abigail and her partner. Travelling home after the dinner, we see Peter reconciled with George.



The Other Man received negative reviews from film critics. It currently holds a 15% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with the consensus: "Despite the best efforts of a talented cast, The Other Man is talky, witless and tension-free." It was a box office bomb as well, earning just over $1 million against its $15 million budget.

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