Director: Mike Nichols
Starring Cast: Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Julia Roberts, Clive Owen
Rated: A filthy, dirty R
Reel Reviews Rating:
Closer is based on a play, which makes sense given the very small cast. There are only four characters in the whole film, and the plot focuses entirely on them. For such a small cast, Closer has a complex story, with elements such as love, loneliness, jealousy, trust, deception, betrayal, and lust.
Some people may dismiss this movie as a soap opera, with people simply cheating on their partners or being cheated on. However, it’s more than that. First of all, there are no protagonists; everyone has some sort of weakness or flaw. Yes, even Anna, played by America’s Sweetheart herself. At the same time, none of them are complete scumbags either. Well…actually, Jude Law’s character (Dan) comes pretty close, but then again, it’s a role that probably comes second nature to him.
Second- there is the theme of deception. Each character is not necessarily who the audience (nor the other characters) first perceives them to be. For example, when we first see Anna, we get the impression that she’s a confident and independent woman. She’s a successful photographer and appears to be happy. Later we find out that Anna may not be as strong as she seems.
Third- I think the actors did a great job in providing depth to their characters. Even Ms. Julia was able to make it throughout the whole movie without flashing her ginormous, movie star smile. Clive Owen is especially good as the pervy but sensitive brute Dr. Larry. Check out the crucial scene between him and Julia Roberts. He’s absolultely electrifying in it. At the same time, I question Natalie Portman’s portrayal of Alice. I don’t know about the Alice from the play, but IMO Natalie seemed out of place. She just looks so much younger than the other three. She looks 12 years old, and everyone else is an adult. Her tiny frame certainly doesn’t help. Julia looks like she could be her mom. And I found the flirt scenes between her and Clive Owen a bit awkward since she looks like a child standing next to him.
Fourth- the film looks at the underbelly of relationships. Most of the time we see the smiley, charming, birds-fluttering-around-hearts-dancing scenarios of love in movies. Sure, at times we see a couple with some problem in their relationship, but near the end of the movie more often than not that problem is fixed somehow. All is forgiven. Everyone wins and goes home happy. Closer shows that no, not all relationships will live happily ever after. There are some things people do to each other that can never be forgiven. People do dumb shit that even they can’t explain, but do it anyway. It’s harsh, but that kind of stuff does happen in real life.
Fifth- despite the seriousness of the plot, there are funny scenes. The best one is when Dan (Jude Law) and Dr. Larry (Clive Owen) are chatting to each other online. It is pure comedy gold.
Overall, I would definitely recommend Closer. There are just so many levels to it. This is the kind of movie that keeps you thinking- mulling over the characters and the plot- even after it’s over.
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- B movies
- Film Adaptation
- John Hughes films
- Miyazaki Films
- Social Commentary
- Specific Actors