Peter (Liam Neeson) and Lisa (Laura Linney) have been married for 30 years. He is a successful web designer, and she is a shoe designer on the fashion show circuit. After receiving much praise for her latest creations, she has dinner with her husband and casually asks him whether he believes that couples can really stay together for their entire lives. Peter is stunned by the question and eventually answers in the affirmative. She wonders whether he could sleep with another woman, and he seems uncomfortable with the whole conversation. This is only the beginning of a sea change in this marriage.
After Peter hears a phone message to Lisa from another man, he realizes that she may be having an affair. Animated by a strange mix of jealousy and disappointment, Peter begins to do some detective work, tracking through her laptop files and discovering photos of Lisa with a man called Ralph. There are shots of the two of them in a hotel bedroom, laughing and carrying on. Peter's co-workers are stunned by his new intensity and lack of interest in his work. He stops for a visit with his daughter Abigail (Romola Garai) who is married to an older man. But he leaves that evening for Milan where Ralph lives. She is very concerned about her dad's emotional turmoil.
Richard Eyre directs The Other Man and manages to squeeze out of it the firepower of jealousy and the yearning for revenge. He dealt with some powerful desires and emotions in Notes on a Scandal and Iris as well. This film is based on a story by Bernhard Schlink that has been adapted by Richard Eyre and Charles Wood.
It is easy to identify with the anger and dark thoughts which overtake Peter as he decides to confront his wife's lover. He meets him in the back room of a shop where individuals play chess. Ralph speaks freely about his life and sees himself as a free spirit who is proud of his lively imagination. Peter discovers a startling truth about his competitor and must decide how to deal with him. Should he follow the path of revenge and try to humiliate him? Or is there another way, given all that he has discovered about the "other man."?
This oddly affecting movie offers much food for thought on the after-effects of adultery and the toxins that wither our souls whenever we are possessed by jealousy.
Special features on the DVD include an audio commentary by director Richard Eyre and interviews with the cast and crew.