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 puts the four leading characters in a box and strips them apart. Written by
A segment of dialog from the movie was used for the titles of two Panic! at the Disco songs: "Lying is the Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off" and "But It's Better If You Do." See more »
In the photograph exposition, when Larry is talking with Alice, his glass change from his left to his right hand between shots, See more »
There is much hype to be found surrounding Mike Nichol's 'Closer', celebrated for its frankness and "Oscar-worthy" performances. I despised this movie however. Not that it is particularly badly written, acted or directed, but I found 'Closer' to be inane, inept, and totally unlikable with no apparent reason for existing other than to highlight the worst aspects of humanity. The movie is plodding and its cynicism about relationships and life in general is far too overblown. Infidelity and repeated sexual liaisons interchange between the same four characters for the entire length of the movie. Are we supposed to care about these people or their relationships? Are we supposed to care how cruelly they treat each other? It certainly doesn't appear that way, the film seems to want us to be distant from these characters, but for what reason? It's utterly pointless, banal, and the characters are just shallow, especially Clive Owen's Larry, whom I found to be completely repulsive. I am comfortable with explorations of sex in film, but here it is just tiresome; "controversial" and "sexually honest" material is substituted for any real, or at least interesting, character development. If this had been successfully achieved, we could connect with these people on some level, any level. Does the film wish us to applaud its excessive use of sexual expletives as bold; daring? It is frank, provocative, and often interestingly in-you-face honest, but as the film drags this approach just becomes grating and unrelenting. Add to this, the movie jumps ahead months and years at a time, which furthers our detachment from ever fully accessing these characters, ever fully understanding these characters, as if we are only offered the worst moments of the last four years of their lives - this continual distancing is distressing. This movie just rubbed me the wrong way.
I think there is enjoyment to be had from 'Closer', with some memorable performances, but that is about all this film has to offer. Many people may find this movie endearing, but unfortunately this movie failed to grab me. 'Closer' is sometimes effectively emotional in its exploration of diminishing trust and love in modern relationships and Natalie Portman is remarkable. She is undoubtedly the standout of this film, bringing a much-needed, though never fully realised innocence to the film (although her talents are wasted on this trite film), and Clive Owen successfully inhabits the persona of sex-craved man, seemingly without redemption. Julia Roberts as Anna and Jude Law as Dan are impressive, though less impacting than the others. Patrick Marber's screenplay has some high points and the dialogue mostly works, but as we, completely drawn back, continue to watch these characters dig themselves deeper into their own sh*t, the film ultimately becomes a mega- disappointment. As a harsh social commentary it does its job, but there really, truly is no point to 'Closer' other than that life is crap, relationships are crap, people are crap and these people end up with other crappy people.
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