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Closer (2004)

  Directed by: Mike Nichols
Written by: Patrick Marber
Starring: Jude Law, Clive Owen, Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts
Links: Closer on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on DVD
Genre: Drama

This movie gets: 7.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

Closer (2004) is also mentioned in pearly's review of Crash (2004) and em_fiction's review of We Don't Live Here Anymore (2004).

"I'm confused" - a review by pearly

Closer began life as a play written by Patrick Marber, and has now been adapted into this film. It's about two gals and two guys who are looking for love, oftentimes in the wrong places. Alice (Natalie Portman) meets Dan (Jude Law) when she is hit by a car, and Dan is instantly smitten with her. So much so, that he writes a book in her honour. Whilst having his photograph taken for the cover a year later, he becomes attracted to his photographer Anna (Julia Roberts), but the two try to resist their attraction because of Alice. Regardless, Dan cannot get her out of his head, and when he realises he can't have her, he tries to sabotage her by introducing her to Larry (Clive Owen), a plan which he is sure will backfire.

What follows is an ever more complicated sequence of events and intertanglements of the four as they fall in and out of love with one another, and each try to decide upon their ideal outcome to the whole mess.

Closer was not exactly the kind of film that I expected upon walking in the door. The poster seems harmless enough, just the faces of these four beautiful people looking beautiful, and the tagline of "If you believe in love at first sight, you never stop looking.", which doesn't truly convey its meaning until you have seen the film and know exactly what it's talking about. But if by the presence of Roberts, you're expecting another Pretty Woman (1990) style romp, then you're in for quite a surprise. I wasn't exactly expecting something that fun-filled, but I got more than I bargained for, regardless.

The film is quite confronting in a number of ways. It is sometimes more about sex than it is about love and relationships, though it's not particularly graphic. What is graphic is the language (I even witnessed audible gasps from some people in the cinema I went to), with Owen being the main guy who needs to wash his mouth out with soap. But it isn't the language that put me off centre. It's the whole pushing and pulling of the film as a whole that I found difficult. Relationships are strange, intense things, and this is what this film is about: the ways that relationships affect people. In this way, the audience is also affected (or at least, I was).

I found it very difficult to decide what I thought of this film, and in a way, I still haven't decided. Perhaps I was in the wrong mood for it at the time that I saw it, but I found it quite hard to watch, and by that, I mean that it threw me around a bit, not that I was bored. Perhaps this kind of challenge is what the writer and director were aiming for, but that doesn't help me decide whether I appreciated it.

What I do know, is that the film contains some brilliant performances, and they come from the lesser [whatever the equivalent of supermodel is in the acting world: superactor, perhaps] in the bunch. Portman was sexy and such a perfect choice for this object of affection, and Owen was jaw-droppingly fantastic in his evil, manipulative role. And, in a negative sense, what I know is that I thought that the ending of the film took away from the rest of it - the revelation that Dan discovers turns the film into something that it really wasn't up until that point, and I didn't think that it quite sat right with the rest of the story, which was more of a straight-down-the-line thing.

Beyond that, I'm at a bit of a loss. I can see why the film is getting the kudos that it is, but I didn't come away loving it or thinking it was clever or whatever, and I'm normally quite accepting of confronting topics. So, I guess I'll just have to rate it based on my thoughts at this point in time, but with the acknowledgement that if I see it again, my thoughts may vary drastically.

pearly gives this movie 7 out of 10.
Review created on Thu 17 Feb 2005

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