Tempting Fate Review: Mistakes Were Made!

at .

Life comes at you fast, but life came at Gabby Cartwright even faster.

Tempting Fate is another one of Lifetime's Book to Screen gems -- the first of a trio based on Jane Green's bestselling novel of the same name. Our leading lady was Alyssa Milano, and Grey's Anatomy's Kim Raver executive produced.

Are you ready for this? It was pretty damn good!

Sweet Nothings

The promos teased a salacious affair between Gabby and Matt, and I get it, sex sells and all that fun stuff, but what made this movie so darn heartening was the theme of family.

Related: Adriana Trigiani's Very Valentine Review: What Happens in Italy Doesn't Stay in Italy!

I don't know about you guys, but I'm a sucker for a family theme, and this movie had it in spades. Also, what was refreshing about this story was the affair between Gabby and Matt was not glorified, and our girl SUFFERED after she had it.

A Family's World Shattered

Oh yes, they went hard making this philanderer sympathetic as hell, and it's a credit to the movie (and I'm assuming the novel) that it captured the complexities of marriage and people in general.We got ourselves an infidelity plot, actual consequences, and no one was the bad guy.

How did they do it?!

The Cartwrights appeared to be the perfect couple on the outside, but we all know that's usually bullcrap to anyone willing to pay attention.

Elliott (who was so swoony and handsome with the salt and pepper beard) was the somewhat busy doctor husband, and Gabby was the perfect mom who also restored bric-a-brac and furniture and their garage, and they had the two teen/tween daughters.

They were the usual idealistic, perfect suburban family, so it's no wonder everyone around them thought they were #Goals.

Happily Married or Marital Woes - Tall

Except, it only takes for you to peek out of your window and see the couple sitting in the car after a social event giving each other that look. You know the look, the "we have a crapton of problems we're not actively working through" look, and that's where the Cartwrights were at the beginning of the movie.

Gabby: Make good choices. Be smart. Think ahead!

As is the case for most relationships, their biggest issue was they sucked at communication. But did either of them invest in a self-help book so they could learn what their love language was? Nope!

Mistakes Were Made - Tall

It sounded like they both expressed themselves, but they also had a bad habit of dismissing what the other person said. "I know you said you wanted that, but I didn't think you meant it!"

Gabby wanted more kids, but Elliott wasn't feeling it. Elliott had a front-row seat to life with two teenage daughters and was like "LOL, Nah." I wasn't mad at him for that, but where Elliott screwed up was going and having a secret vasectomy without telling Gabby until later.

It's irritating to find out they both had the conversation about children, neither of them changed their stance on it, but they allowed this specific issue to spiral out of control to the point of driving them apart. They talked, but they didn't listen. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason, people!

Elliott could sit there all day and say he didn't realize the issue would be so important to her, but it was a lie. If he didn't know his wife would be devastated about not having another child with him, he wouldn't have gotten a vasectomy without telling her.

Related: Ambitions Brely and Erica Page Share Their Exciting Journey So Far 

Sure, it's his body, but they're married, and it was a decision they should've at least discussed together. He not only decided for them, but it bothered him when she reacted. It wasn't fair; he wasn't fair.

Doting Husband

Was Elliott a scrumptious full-course meal? Yes. But pre-breakup Elliott's ambivalence to Gabby's feelings sucked; however, it laid the groundwork for how she ended up getting wooed by Matt the millennial millionaire, or as I call him, a gosh damn unicorn.

No, but seriously, where do you find Matt? Other than his total disregard for banging a married woman, he was almost too perfect, or maybe it was the combination of him being perfect and Gabby being easily impressed.

Matt: Jane Eyre. I read it four times since my class in Feminist Lit I took in college, which I swear, I didn't take to pick up women. 

Her unmentionables disintegrated around the time he tossed out some basic information about Jane Eyre, which he credited to the Feminist Literature class he took in college for reasons that didn't include picking up chicks (Ha. Sure, Matt).

Matt's biography also included his being a foster child who bounced around in the system until he made something of himself in a rags-to-riches way the ladies love, being a philanthropist, and building schools for underprivileged kids.

Matt, please. Our ovaries cannot take it. And apparently, neither could Gabby's.

Millennial Millionaire Matt - Tall

Matt had nothing that resembled chill while pursuing Gabby. He was a shameless flirt, and their text messages back and forth were telling, but he did appreciate her skills and her. They wasted no time jumping into the emotional affair territory, but they also came across as cute friends too.

Gabby was a goner, and for a while, it was like there were three teenage girls in the house instead of two because of how glued to her phone Gabby was. I'm not shaming Elliott for not noticing the behavior, but I'm also wondering how he missed all of it. She squealed in delight every time her phone buzzed.

Gabby: OK, it's one thing to be flirty over text, but to be together -- to be flirty with someone you can't have, I --

Matt: You absolutely certain that I'm flirting with somebody that I can't have?

For a millionaire running a multi-million dollar startup and jet-setting around the world whilst building a school for underprivileged children (wow, that's a real sentence), Matt had a crazy amount of time on his hands to flirt with this married mother of two.

Related: Queen of the South Season 4 Episode 2 Review: Un asunto de Familia

Matt was a master at the art of the chase. Personally, bells should have gone off when ten minutes into their deceptive "work" dinner and chill, he gave her those bedroom eyes implying he wanted to chill horizontally.

Netflix and Chill?

Gabby knew she was playing with fire, but she liked the heat, so she stuck with it. It didn't help matters when Elliott's work thing interfered with their couple's vacation they planned.

Related: Designated Survivor Season 3 Premiere Review: Edgier Than Ever!

So when Matt crossed all the lines by showing up at Gabby's house unannounced (a Millennial "no-no," good luck expecting anyone to answer the door), Gabby was prime for letting him into her private space (um, the restoration garage, not her hoo-ha; but he got in there too).

An Affair to Remember- Tall

Their racy romp on the desk she restored (and probably needed to re-restore after) was hot, and so was the music, but how the hell did Matt spend all that time plotting to get into her pants and NOT come prepared with a condom?! Goodness, if you're going to do wrong, do it right!

The moment he tried to reassure her that it was "just one night, and everything would be alright," the narrator voice in my head said, "everything was not alright." It's only alright on Opposite Day!

And that's how Gabby ended up pregnant with the child she dreamed about and the man she didn't. Yikes! Gabby's freakout and confession at the doctor's office were amusing.

Gabby: Well? The reason I've been such a raging bitch is ...

Doctor: Well, it's not menopause. You're pregnant.

Gabby's confession to Elliott, however, was not. You couldn't help but feel for Elliott. He said he wanted the truth from her, but he didn't anticipate her infidelity. It was rough on the guy, but boy, he showed no mercy.

Repairing More - Tall

In a personal, unexpected plot twist, somewhere between Elliott taking their eldest daughter with him when he left and dating Trish, most of my sympathies shifted to Gabby.

Related: Queen Sugar Season 4 Episode 1 Review: Pleasure is Black 

Unlike most cases when there is infidelity thrown into the mix, Gabby recognized right away the mistake she made, never once repeated it or showed any conflicting feelings about it, and she spent a lot of time apologizing and being remorseful.

Gabby: Just stay there. 

Matt: Was I that bad?

Gabby: No, you were that wrong.

She was so sorry it hurt. She stewed in her remorse and self-loathing, and she didn't have any support from anywhere. By the time everyone forgave Gabby, it was because she earned the hell out of it.

Mistakes Were Made - Tall

It was painful to see her world shatter around her the way it did. The disruption of her friendship with Claire was particularly brutal.

Despite Claire being the one who teased her about the flirtation she had with Matt and even made comments about Gabby having some fun, Claire sided with Elliott and allowed him and Olivia to move in with her family after the fallout.

Related: Absentia Season 2 Episode 1 Review:  Casualties

It was unusual, as she was always closer to Gabby than Elliott, but she iced Gabby out in a surprising way. Gabby lost their friendship, missed out on being there to support Claire during her pregnancy, and she missed being pregnant with Claire at the same time.

Gabby lost her closest friends, her husband, and her eldest daughter. She had to go through her entire pregnancy by herself. But you know what? It showed her strength.

It was a character-building period in her life. It showed her resilience and allowed her to grow as a person.

Daughter and Ally - tall

She should have told Matt sooner about the baby, but it's understandable why she didn't. Shoutout to Matt who was, for the most part, a great guy who did great things, but he knew what he did and didn't want.

Gabby assumed because of how passionate he is about helping children that he wanted them of his own, and Matt adored children ... as long as they were someone else's. Same, Matt.

But something she learned from how she treated her husband regarding the issue, was to not force the kid thing on Matt. She didn't expect him to take care of her or the baby even though she knew he could afford it. She didn't pressure him to be part of their baby's life.

Pregnancy Blues - Tall

After she broke down and told him, she gave him the space to process it without expecting anything from him. She focused on having an open line of communication so he could have the option if he wanted, and I respect that.

Gabby grew to be more independent and was willing to go at things alone. She knew she made a mistake, held herself accountable for it, but also recognized they had to move on.

Related: Veronica Mars Revival: New Trailer Sheds Light on Logan's Return

Elliott had the time and space to be angry and hold a grudge until he was ready to come around.

Olivia and Alana had their space to be angry, but she also put her foot down when they wanted to use her poor choices and their responses to justify their problematic actions. Claire had the space to give her the cold shoulder, and she accepted it.

Doting Husband

Gabby took all of it to the chin. She made amends as best as she could, and she tried to fight for her marriage, family, and friendships too. However, she made the best out of the tumultuous time in her life.

In some ways, it's what made her more sympathetic than Elliott, who wasn't willing to acknowledge where he faltered in their marriage until the end of the movie. Elliott was a good man, but a stubborn, emotional one who took longer to be self-aware.

His journey to accepting everything was a bittersweet one too. It was refreshing to want this pair to reconcile. Gosh dammit, this kid did not like to see Mom and Dad fighting!

Alana: How could you be so nice to me about all these crappy things I've done and can't be nice to mom? 

They played the gray area well if a girl like me who usually is Team "Dump Them" was a heart-eyed 'shipper  who was shoveling way too many Milano cookies into my mouth and whisper screaming #CartwrightsForEva.

Happily Married or Marital Woes - Tall

Elliott jumped right in and helped her through delivering Henry, and he only freaked out when he found the baby shared his last name because of it being her last name.

Gabby couldn't be upset at Elliott for trying to move on with Trish, and Trish was sweet about the entire situation as well; she even encouraged Gabby to get her man. The maturity of everyone involved was astounding!

Related: iZombie Season 5 Episode 7 Review: Filleted to Rest 

Matt showed up to meet his baby and went googly-eyed over the babbling cutie with his eyes. It was adorable when he stared at the baby in awe; his comment about creating him was hilarious.

Baby Excitement - Tall

After working through things and given his experiences as a foster kid, he probably concluded he needed to be part of his kid's life, and while we didn't get to see him work through all of that, the sentiment was there regardless.

Related: 13 Pretty Little Reasons PLL: The Perfectionists Deserves a Second Season

I loved that he never even attempted to rekindle things with Gabby. The one-night stand they had was just that, but the friendship between them was oddly endearing. How do you go to your baby's momma's house and take a stroll with her and your baby and talk about your new girlfriend?

Gabby: I'm sorry in a million ways, and I regret hurting the man I love, and I want that man back, Elliott. I really do. I want you back, and I totally get get that it's impossible because Henry and I are a packaged deal now. I'm more than you bargained for. 

It's that realistic messiness which made the movie such a delight.

But nothing was more delightful than Gabby and Elliott confessing their feelings and making up in the lobby of his workplace. His receptionist was a MOOD.

Same, Lady - Tall

Gabby apologized for how she hurt him, but she let him know she couldn't apologize for her son. He wasn't a mistake, as she said. He was a gift.

Elliott apologized for the things he did, and the shot of them kissing while baby Henry's stroller was nearby was meaningful. Elliott loved her and knew to love her meant loving baby Henry too.

Related: Claws Season 3 Episode 1 Review: Just the Tip 

But the money scene has to go to the big, messy, blended family they formed by the end. The chaotic breakfast scene captured how family is what you make of it, and it isn't perfect, but it can be something beautiful when you put in the work and make the best out of a crappy situation.

Blended Family

Matt and his new girlfriend, Morgan, waltzed into the house with an ease and familiarity that's impressive given the situation. The girls love Morgan and have a great rapport with her and vice versa.

Gabby was nothing but warm and friendly with Morgan, and must have given the stamp of approval if she was OK relinquishing her newborn to this woman. The cordial exchanges and baby handoff between Elliott and Matt was poignant.

Related: Elementary Season 7 Episode 4 Review: Red Light, Green Light

Little Henry has two dads, and both men have no problems with being his father or being part of this family. Gabby and Elliott are in the best place in their relationship. And while in many cases, it would seem unrealistic or annoying that Gabby got the best of all her worlds, it isn't the case here.

Double the Dads

She went through hell, and she had to earn every ounce of that happy ending, and their new family is something which took work. It didn't come across idealistic at all, but it was rewarding.

-Related: Get Great Selection of New & Classic Movies with the Lifetime Movie Club via Prime Video Channels! -

With angst, romantic drama, and family feels, Tempting Fate was a gem.

Over to you, Lifetime movie Fanatics. Was Tempting Fate a happy surprise? Did you love it or loathe it? Hit the comments below!


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
  • 4.8 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

Show Comments
Tags: , ,

Lifetime Quotes

Real Estate Agent: Between you and me, this is the first time I've shown this place in a month. So you can get this place for a steal.
Vincent: My favorite way of getting things.

It's one of the great mysteries of life. You never know quite what's going to happen next.