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Overall Rating
3.48

Awesome: 26.51%
Worth A Look32.53%
Just Average: 18.07%
Pretty Crappy: 8.43%
Sucks: 14.46%

12 reviews, 94 user ratings


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Closer (2004)
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by David Cornelius

"Everyone screws everyone, in more ways than one."
4 stars

Here we have four of the world’s most beautiful people, playing the world’s most cruellest. The film is “Closer,” directed by Mike Nichols, who’s made his most assured theatrical release in years and once again earning the title of Big Name Filmmaker. His film, adapted from the play by Patrick Marber (who also wrote the screenplay), is a cold study of lies, infidelity, guilt, jealousy, and just desserts; by the end, you will loathe these people. And yet you will be unable to turn away from their story.

The key to the film comes early, in a scene in which Alice (Natalie Portman) tells Dan (Jude Law), whom she had just met, that she prefers to make clean breaks in relationships. Just say “I don’t love you anymore” and leave forever, that’s her philosophy. But does she believe it? Perhaps, since that’s what she said she just did before she moved to London. But then she gets stuck in a relationship that’s anything but clean and easy. In fact, nobody here does, and slowly but surely, Alice’s “clean break” approach, which once sounded so cold, now sounds like the best way to go.

The problems start when Dan meets Anna (Julia Roberts) and promptly hits on her, never mind the fact that he’s dating Alice (and apparently in love, but is he just saying that?). And then Larry (Clive Owen) enters the picture and falls for Anna. And then things just get messier and messier.

The interweaving of couples is pure soap opera, to be sure, but it’s a bitingly clever soap opera. What we get with “Closer” isn’t just the usual romantic twists and turns, but a long, hard look at the head games people play. The notion of truth and lies fascinates Dan (and apparently everyone else, too), and one has to wonder which he enjoys more, the romance or the deception.

All involved, of course, get exactly what the deserve. After all, isn’t always satisfying to see a player get played himself? But what makes this screenplay tick is how it never settles with the characters as mere pawns; yes, they get moved about in diabolical ways, but it’s the human emotion behind the moves that asks us to lean forward. When one character gets what’s properly deserved, we don’t feel smug over the incident. We feel pity. These people may be playing dirty politics when it comes to love, but they’re still people, and we get to feel every heartache.

What’s earning “Closer” its current reputation, however, isn’t its depth of character, but its sexual frankness. Never in my life did I expect to hear Julia “America’s Sweetheart” Roberts talking about orgasms and sexual positions and cunnilingus and such, but here it is, in all its verbal glory. And why not? When Roberts’ Anna comes to one point in an argument where she spits that “we did everything everyone does during sex,” it becomes clear that it’s ridiculous to not discuss, say, oral sex more often. Why keep the doors closed on something everyone knows? The frankness heard here is refreshing.

And yet it’s never just used for the cheap impact of ooh-they’re-talking-dirty. No, the sex here has a deeper purpose: it’s a weapon, either directly or verbally. To these characters, sex is rarely (if ever) an expression of love. It’s a means to an end. When Larry demands that Anna reveal every last sexual fact of her indiscretion, it’s purely out of spite. This is his dark revenge, to make Anna not only discuss the truth, but to discuss it in agonizing detail. With these characters, sex never heals. It only hurts.

With this whip-smart material, Nichols draws not only superb performances from all four leads, but he also creates a tone that is both intimate and chilly. His camera lingers on faces, reactions, never afraid to get too close to his subjects, always willing to put every inch of pain on display. The result is a work that, like his recent made-for-cable efforts, reveal a filmmaker who’s comfortable in putting raw hurt right up front. Nichols is unflinching, and his “Closer” joins the ranks of “In the Company of Men,” “The Shape of Things,” and “Eyes Wide Shut” as a vicious, haunting, captivating study of the destructive power of the human heart.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=11189&reviewer=392
originally posted: 12/03/04 18:53:15
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User Comments

12/09/12 Simon raw, crackling acting. not so smoothly made, but replaces the singular intesity of a play 5 stars
6/25/11 brian Does love turn to hate because of lies...or because of honesty? 5 stars
5/28/11 Shaun A It's a good film, but the heart's not in it. Maybe just not my kind. 3 stars
5/22/10 Dane Youssef One of the finest photographed plays in years. All fucking scorch like Gods. 5 stars
4/17/10 PAUL SHORTT MEAN-SPIRITED BUT WELL ACTED 3 stars
2/06/10 art natalie portman has an exotic dancer YAWN! 1 stars
7/17/09 Lesli Lovd NP..lovd when CO railed @ JR. If uve been cheated on, you'll relate well. 5 stars
12/22/08 CTT Shallow and hypocritical, thank God for Portman's ass 2 stars
4/25/07 mb How Four Pigs With A Bit Of Charm Live 2 stars
3/30/07 David Pollastrini Natalie Portman is hot in this! 2 stars
2/27/07 Keystra Williams Portman and Owen rule. Roberts and Law SUCK. 4 stars
2/18/07 Nick Maday I know Cate Blanchett was good, but I was rooting for Natalie Portman. Loved this movie. 4 stars
2/13/07 Bitchflaps Really quite shit, Law and Portman are vacuous, Roberts asinine, Owen irritating as fuck. 1 stars
10/21/06 Trevor Cathartic 5 stars
10/09/06 Bruce The film had an intrigue to it that makes you want to look deeper 4 stars
7/16/06 Marty character interaction was amazing. owen rocked, roberts was the weakest 4 stars
5/09/06 omar pretty good. i just like the song 4 stars
3/10/06 Tanya enjoyable 4 stars
12/15/05 Christina Silva Closer is the greatest most honest movie i have ever seen. It is so accurate. 5 stars
12/12/05 millersxing What posturing! Oversexed, understated, uber-chic, nauseating "relationship" drama. 3 stars
11/27/05 Cedric Oh, that lucky thong that gets to floss Natalie's dooky ditch! 4 stars
10/21/05 rebecca Vacuous piece of nonsense 1 stars
10/20/05 Uche I think it is a good movioe but I really don't understand the end. 5 stars
9/13/05 ray mero For me, this is a perfect date movie...after which a nicely amused and hooting fuck. 4 stars
8/10/05 ES How to commit adultry badly, I found sympathy for none of them, waste of money 1 stars
7/31/05 TheOthersFan Alice/Jane puts it most succinctly: "A bunch of sad strangers photographed beautifully." 3 stars
6/21/05 The Lurchprong Splitter Good acting from Portman, Law, and Owen, but arrogant Julia R just shitting on her laurels! 3 stars
6/14/05 Blanche Pope pretentious rubbish! 1 stars
6/02/05 Indrid Cold A fascinating look at love, lust, betrayal and lies in 21st century relationships. 5 stars
6/01/05 malcolm i had a portman 2xfeature with "Phantom Menace." should've got "The Professional" instead. 4 stars
5/01/05 dfa hello stranger! 3 stars
4/25/05 E-FUNK Clive Owen verbally berrates Julia Roberts. Worth every second of your time. 4 stars
4/19/05 Nicole Baugh Natalie Portman broke my heart in this movie. 4 stars
4/19/05 Elizaveta people do messed up shit to each other in the name of love. 4 stars
4/17/05 Calandria Dexter I thought this movie was fantastic! Wonderful twists! Love can be hard! 5 stars
4/15/05 Carol Conway It was okay 3 stars
4/10/05 Monday Morning Mike Nichols lost a lot of cred with this one. A huge disappointment except for JL and NP. 2 stars
4/10/05 Phil M. Aficionado Nicely made film about the kind of relationships that don't happen 'cuz they make no sense. 3 stars
4/06/05 Roderick Cromar Where I live, people simply don't behave like this. 2 stars
4/06/05 clatz Clive Owen should only play Pinocchio he is that wooden!! Portman is the only thing worhtw 1 stars
4/05/05 Ethan Clive Owen was amazing, good film 4 stars
4/02/05 Eric hardcore satire with characters who have no filter on what they think out loud 4 stars
3/13/05 Daveman A sober, resounding testament to the irrevokable consequences of infidelity... remarkable. 4 stars
3/12/05 Jim Totally engagaing end to end. Clive Owen - wow! 5 stars
2/20/05 fiona HOW BORING! It's Dawsons Creek for 30 somethings. Yaaaawn. 1 stars
2/19/05 abhster Clive Owen makes this movie. What a terrific role, although it's a lead, not supporting 5 stars
2/14/05 Why are fish therapeutic? Fish are not as therapeutic as Natalie Portman's crapper-flappers! 3 stars
2/13/05 H.P. Lovecraft Clive owen rules. Natalie portman too. 5 stars
2/05/05 xxplosive Natalie Portman makes this film worth seeing, she is outstanding throughout. 4 stars
2/05/05 John Bale Theatrical thesis on rampant infidelity, fine direction & acting. Natalie is riveting. 5 stars
2/01/05 lisa w definitely adult themed movie, which had a much different approach to relationships 4 stars
2/01/05 Weeez This film makes you address the darker side of relationships, and consequences. 4 stars
1/31/05 kaz cold as ice..no intimacy at all.. 1 stars
1/31/05 Alison Mosbeck I felt that this film was very well-made, but I was not crazy about the themes it presented 4 stars
1/29/05 Gretchen Lowe Natalie Portman is hot 5 stars
1/29/05 Wendy strange 4 stars
1/29/05 Lisa Clarizio Up there with Lost in Translation as one of the best movies where nothing happens 5 stars
1/28/05 petrushka Beautiful and cruel, fascinating. Portman & Owen shine in this adult look at relationships. 5 stars
1/27/05 Bert Rito Vote #1 Clive Owen for Bond! He was brilliant, as was Portman. Roberts looks like a horse. 4 stars
1/27/05 Roz I loved this movie. A fascinating adult look at truth, lies, fantasy and deception. 5 stars
1/24/05 michael shulman excellent script and excellent acting 4 stars
1/23/05 JDAWG This movie was horrible. "I love u, no, now I love u, but I'm gonna sleep with someone" 1 stars
1/17/05 Victor Amazin 5 stars
1/12/05 Pamela thought provoking 5 stars
1/08/05 aeon i liked it. It made me feel lessl ike a freak because i ask questions like that too.... 5 stars
1/02/05 The Mockingbird That's some honesty right there. I love Portman more than ever, and my my my Clive Owen 5 stars
1/02/05 Movie Lover waste of time. waste of Money. 1 stars
12/30/04 I.S> Worst piece of crap I've seen in years! 1 stars
12/27/04 Lynn disturbing. ruthless. absolutely loved it. 4 stars
12/26/04 Steve Nothing in this movie made me care about what happens. 2 stars
12/23/04 Gilly Concarne execrable 1 stars
12/21/04 carleton fine film , interesting everything 5 stars
12/20/04 Randy 2 excrutiating hours of witnessing 4 miserable, self-absorbed, uninteresting people 1 stars
12/18/04 Kyle Wonderful movie. 5 stars
12/18/04 jcjs wow, humdinger, tough stuff 5 stars
12/14/04 ZF an effective semi-wrenching film about people manipulating each other emotionally 4 stars
12/14/04 Elizabeth Interesting. The dialogue is too "written", though the CONTENT is believable. 3 stars
12/13/04 dbx If you're going to be pretentious, at least be good at it. 1 stars
12/12/04 UMER I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH LUCAS 1 stars
12/12/04 Lucas Stensland Worse movie I've seen this year 1 stars
12/12/04 Nicole Depressing - shows just how shitty people can treat each other 4 stars
12/11/04 Eric a bit of a downer, but great character development & shows that love/hate is very complex 4 stars
12/11/04 estherben good 4 stars
12/11/04 Dianne I appreciated it, but would be hard-pressed to say I liked it. 4 stars
12/10/04 Maureen I walked out. I was not prepared for the vulgarness. I am not a prude but after 1 hr. of it 1 stars
12/10/04 Suzz so-so acting; terrible screenplay;a 'message' only a 20/30 something could find revelatory 2 stars
12/09/04 I I 1 stars
12/07/04 Dirt Whore beautiful...I want to eat Natalie's ass 5 stars
12/05/04 Gary Not bad......Portman is hotter then ever! Good acting; poor script! 3 stars
12/05/04 Jimmy Kustes For a mainstream movie it had a very indie feel 4 stars
12/04/04 Donna I 4 stars
12/04/04 Kristina Williams I want Natalie to give me a pole lesson...PRONTO. 5 stars
12/04/04 Monica I couldn't appreciate this film. It was too filthy I had to remove myself from the theater 2 stars
12/01/04 Ratana Predicable, simular to other movies. 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  03-Dec-2004 (R)
  DVD: 29-Mar-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  26-Jan-2005


Directed by
  Mike Nichols

Written by
  Patrick Marber

Cast
  Natalie Portman
  Julia Roberts
  Jude Law
  Clive Owen



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