Closer (2004): Review

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“How can one man be so endlessly disappointing?” 

Fun fact: at the beginning of shooting Closer, Natalie Portman gave Julia Roberts a necklace that said “cunt”, thats the kind of film this is.

Vibrant, erotic and tragic, Closer is a stage to screen adaptation of Patrick Marber’s 90’s play centring around four immoral characters. Trying to define the generic story arch of this film involves a lot of “X was with Y but then cheated with Q who then met P who slept with Y” – so bare with me.

Dan (Jude Law), an obituaries writer falls in love with Alice (Natalie Portman) a high-spirited American living in London. A year later he meets and falls for Anna (Julia Roberts) a divorced photographer, who ends up marrying dermatologist, Larry (Clive Owen) with accidental help from Dan. Anna and Dan have an affair, which breaks up their current relationships, while Alice and Larry experience a saucy night in a downtown strip club. Anna then sleeps with Larry AGAIN, which results in Dan running back to Alice…

I know it sounds like a lame episode of Eastenders but its actually somewhat of an enticing and poetic film. These adults are terrible people, awful at life and cruel to each other – yet their hearts break and they blame nobody but one another. With melodramatic elements and theatrical dialogue, these four characters embody and mirror our own flaws and mistakes. It’s very easy to judge them as character development is kept to a minimum; we only see how they act and react in romantic relationships and never learn how they became these people. The L word is passed around nonchalantly and the dialogue is one of the most alluring facets of this movie; which reaches its highest point with an iconic scene between Larry and Anna, where he finds out about her infidelity and asks her that deal breaker question “did he make you come?”. Although in Closer, narrative and character communication predominantly revolves around sex – there is not one sex scene. This is something which I loved and think worked well for the movie, it made it rhythmical, rather than sleazy.

Portman is infatuating and Owen creates enthralling dynamics between himself and other characters, however, Roberts and Law are boring to watch together and only become exciting when they’re in a frame with Alice or Larry.

It’s uncomfortable, unconventional and a bitter script, so if you want to watch something that makes you feel slightly better about your own life choices – this is the movie for you…

V

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