The story follows a married couple, apart for a night while the husband takes a business trip with a colleague to whom he's attracted. While he's resisting temptation, his wife encounters her past love.
Ben Sanderson, an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter who lost everything because of his drinking, arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets and forms an uneasy friendship and non-interference pact with prostitute Sera.
A poet falls in love with an art student who gravitates to his bohemian lifestyle -- and his love of heroin. Hooked as much on one another as they are on the drug, their relationship alternates between states of oblivion, self-destruction, and despair.
Smart-but-ineffectual journalist Dan "We use euphemisms!" cannot decide between his girlfriend, loving-but-clingy waitress Alice, or his lover cold-but-intellectual photographer Anna; herself indecisive between Dan and honest-but-thuggish "You're bloody gorgeous!" doctor Larry. The film, as Tarantino might put it, puts the four leading characters in a box and strips them apart. Written by
Mike Nichols directed, in my opinion, one of the three best adaptations from stage to screen. "Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf" (The other two being Sidney Lumet's "Long day's journey into night" and Elia Kazan's "A Streetcar named Desire) After the extraordinary television adaptation of "Angels in America" I also would have pleaded with Mike Nichols to do "Closer" Sorry I'm rambling. What I'm trying to say in a rather convoluted way is, simply, thank you Mr. Nichols. Adult themes, conceived and performed by adult artists. I hope it makes zillions of dollars so we can have more of it. Jude Law is a Peter O'Toole without the steroids, Julia Roberts a Jeanne Moreau with an American passport, Clive Owen is a child of John Garfield and Peter Finch and Natalie Portman a Jean Peters with a college degree. I saw the film twice in a row, I hadn't done that in years. Not since "Drugstore Cowboy", "Apartment Zero" and "Sex Lies and Videotape" The unfolding of the dark happens in front of our eyes and it feels chillingly familiar. Lies we tell each other with so much conviction with so much honesty. The only real thing is the pain and the loneliness. It doesn't sound like a very entertaining night out but believe me, it is. Go, see for yourself. You may have to confront something you didn't want to confront. That's part of the process call growing up. Who's afraid of that?
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