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10 June 2005

Closer

Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman & Clive Owen

Directed by Mike Nichols (Angels in America)


From Hollywood Video: "Set in London and based on an award-winning play by Patrick Marber, Closer follows the trials and tribulations of two couples whose relationships devolve into a bizarre love rectangle as they grapple with desire, loneliness, betrayal and, of course, amore."

Having read a preview article about this movie in which director Mike Nichols described the film as what happens when lovers no longer hold back the truth, I expected Closer to be a gut-wrenching examination of the cruelty lovers can inflict on each other. The end result, despite a fabulously attractive and talented cast, fell short of the tumultuous, serious emotion such a topic requires.

Jude Law plays an author haunted by the loss of his mother, in love with a younger woman (Portman) but craving the affection and appreciation of an older one (Roberts). Clive Owen disturbingly inhabits a creepy, manipulative, highly sexual doctor with a twisted need to hear every last excrutiating detail from the two women he shares, inadvertantly, with Law. My issues with even Roberts' quiet, self-loathing artist and Portman's unknowable, resilient stripper have to do with the high degree of farce and stereotyping. The convenient coincidences, quick lines, overtly sexual dialogue served to distance me from characters that should have been moving and revealing. I found myself unable to care whether or not they hurt each other because I did not care for them as people, as true representations of how human beings love, act, hurt, fight, play. The film was entertaining for all of its clever and occasionally shocking scenes, but it failed to deliver any real emotion.

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