A failed London musician meets once a week with a woman for a series of intense sexual encounters to get away from the realities of life. But when he begins inquiring about her, it puts their relationship at risk.
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Jay, a failed musician, walked out of his family and now earns a living as head bartender in a trendy London pub. Every Wednesday afternoon a woman comes to his house for graphic, almost wordless, sex. One day Jay follows her and finds out about the rest of her life (and that her name is Claire). This eventually disrupts their relationship. Written by
Patrice Chéreau originally wanted Gary Oldman for the lead role, but he turned it down because of the sex scenes. The actor helped him with showing different locations in London. See more »
You know when you're with someone there's only a very short time when you can really give each other things for free... with neither of you having to ask. Because later on all you do is make demands of each other. Perhaps the only difference between her and all the rest is that she's asking you for nothing.
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Like most films either adapted from Hanif Kureishi's fiction or having screenplays written by him (`My Beautiful Laundrette', `Sammy And Rosie Get Laid' as well as this film, which lists Kureishi as a co-writer along with Anne-Louise Trividic and director Patrice Chereau), `Intimacy' circles its subject in an indirect manner, never declaring what it's truly about but leaving a distinct impression. This can make for difficult viewing, requiring an inordinate amount of concentration to keep up (and which wears you down after a while) and it only sinks in long after it's over. But that's the film's strong point: the writers prefer to have you draw your own conclusions, with dialogue that forces you to read between the lines of an affair in which both participants seem to be using it to address their individual demons. Chereau and Kureishi are more interested in their characters' circumstances than their actions but it's precisely their circumstances that make their actions compelling. Mark Rylance and Kerry Fox are the lovers (and they're excellent, even though the fact their trysts are presented in explicit detail may overshadow their performances), with Rylance as a bitter bartender who has spontaneously abandoned his family and Fox as a drama teacher stifled in her marriage to a cabbie (Mike Leigh favorite Timothy Spall, also very fine) whom Rylance befriends in an attempt to understand her; it's the tensions that build around the trio that drives the narrative. It's an unhappy yet sensitive film that may distance some audiences and push others into uncomfortable areas they may not want to visit, yet there's no denying its inquisitive, intelligent presence.
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