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Overall Rating
3.49

Awesome: 26.35%
Worth A Look32.93%
Average: 17.96%
Pretty Bad: 8.38%
Total Crap: 14.37%

12 reviews, 95 user ratings


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Closer (2004)
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by Collin Souter

"Shouldn't Eric Stoltz or Mark Ruffalo be in this movie?"
4 stars

“Closer” tells the story of four people who each get what they want in a relationship, but haven’t a clue as to how to hang onto it. Some relationships get torn down because of infidelity. Some relationships lose steam. Some relationships, oddly enough, crash and burn thanks to sneaky little bastard known as honesty and some just fail due to lack of interest. Each of the four characters in “Closer” are doomed in some way to one of these downfalls. Nobody can see it coming, of course, but they each have a tendency to lay the groundwork to ensure its occurrence. How does that line go again? I could never belong to a club that would have someone like me for a member.

The movie depicts what happens when a man—Dan (Jude Law)—falls for what many would perceive to be the ultimate male fantasy: Alice (Natalie Portman). Dan sees Alice first as a vision of beauty on the streets. She gets hit by a car and he gets to save her and take her to the hospital. It is safe to assume that had she not been attractive, he probably would have kept on walking. She’s younger than him, wears skimpy outfits and works as a stripper. She completely falls for him and he’s got her right where he wants her.

A year goes by and the two now live in New York. Dan sets his eye on a woman closer to his age named Anna (Julia Roberts). She works as a photographer and has been assigned to photograph Dan for the back cover of his latest book, which oddly enough, tells the story of he and Alice. Anna can see right through Dan. She can see that he doesn’t love Alice, so much as he wants to hang onto her like a prize won. Frustrated, Dan tries to shake Alice’s life up by sending her someone completely undesirable in a very funny scene I would prefer not to describe.

Anna gets paid a visit by a doctor named Larry (Clive Owen) and the two end up hitting it off, which does not go according to Dan’s plan to be an obnoxious prankster. Many more months pass by and the four lives become locked together through a series of infidelities, declarations of lust and destructive confessions. Lovers leave, hearts get broken and honeymoons crash and burn. Be careful what you ask for. You just might get it.

When it comes to sex, “Closer” bravely cuts through any subtext or innuendo and heads straight for the heart of the matter. When these characters talk about sex, they do it bluntly with honesty, something you don’t hear too much of in Hollywood movies and will probably cause some on the audience to snicker. Maybe it’s meant to. Lust can turn people into silly creatures and when an argument goes from two people debating the meaning of an indiscretion to what the act tastes like, I guess it can be pretty funny. After all, why would anyone need to know that?

But men do, the movie implies. Men need to know the details. They need to know how the other man measures up in terms of performance (and size, I suppose). In turn, whenever the men confess an indiscretion, they do so in such a naïve way that they truly believe that to be honest about it is to be automatically forgiven. The women here do not let the men off the hook so easily, but the men also seem to have a Plan B for when all else fails. “It’s not a war,” Alice says at one point. No, it’s not, but it’s definitely a game with more than two players.

The cast handles Patrick Marber’s work (based on his stage play) beautifully and, of course Mike Nichols is the perfect choice to direct it. Portman certainly gives her bravest performance yet. I’m still convinced that she’ll win an Oscar before she’s 30 and here’s more proof. The ubiquitous Jude Law offers a refreshing change from his smugly charming Alfie and ends up being just perfectly smug. Roberts does the best she can, but her character seems underwritten and the least interesting of the four. Clive Owen gives probably his best performance yet as the character caught in the middle of everyone else’s dysfunctions.

“Closer” is not a movie that will have you walking out feeling romantic and good about life. It is meant to be a starting point to some potentially intense discussions with your loved ones. The characters are not likable, but that’s okay. Not every character in a movie has to be. I’m okay with not being forced onto one side of the fence or the other. Human beings are much more complex than that and “Closer” would rather be an “interesting” movie than an “entertaining” one. It just so happens to be both.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11189&reviewer=233
originally posted: 12/09/04 14:56:36
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User Comments

12/29/17 morris campbell mean spirited but HONEST 4 stars
12/09/12 Simon raw, crackling acting. not so smoothly made, but replaces the singular intesity of a play 5 stars
6/26/11 brian Does love turn to hate because of lies...or because of honesty? 5 stars
5/29/11 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
2/07/10 art natalie portman has an exotic dancer YAWN! 1 stars
7/18/09 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
4/26/07 mb How Four Pigs With A Bit Of Charm Live 2 stars
3/31/07 David Pollastrini Natalie Portman is hot in this! 2 stars
2/28/07 Keystra Williams Portman and Owen rule. Roberts and Law SUCK. 4 stars
2/19/07 Nick Maday I know Cate Blanchett was good, but I was rooting for Natalie Portman. Loved this movie. 4 stars
2/14/07 Bitchflaps Really quite shit, Law and Portman are vacuous, Roberts asinine, Owen irritating as fuck. 1 stars
10/21/06 Trevor Cathartic 5 stars
10/10/06 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
5/10/06 omar pretty good. i just like the song 4 stars
3/11/06 Tanya enjoyable 4 stars
12/16/05 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
11/28/05 Cedric Oh, that lucky thong that gets to floss Natalie's dooky ditch! 4 stars
10/22/05 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
8/11/05 ES How to commit adultry badly, I found sympathy for none of them, waste of money 1 stars
8/01/05 TheOthersFan Alice/Jane puts it most succinctly: "A bunch of sad strangers photographed beautifully." 3 stars
6/22/05 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
6/03/05 Indrid Cold A fascinating look at love, lust, betrayal and lies in 21st century relationships. 5 stars
6/02/05 malcolm i had a portman 2xfeature with "Phantom Menace." should've got "The Professional" instead. 4 stars
5/02/05 dfa hello stranger! 3 stars
4/26/05 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
4/18/05 Calandria Dexter I thought this movie was fantastic! Wonderful twists! Love can be hard! 5 stars
4/16/05 Carol Conway It was okay 3 stars
4/11/05 Monday Morning Mike Nichols lost a lot of cred with this one. A huge disappointment except for JL and NP. 2 stars
4/11/05 Phil M. Aficionado Nicely made film about the kind of relationships that don't happen 'cuz they make no sense. 3 stars
4/07/05 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
4/06/05 Ethan Clive Owen was amazing, good film 4 stars
4/03/05 Eric hardcore satire with characters who have no filter on what they think out loud 4 stars
3/14/05 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
2/21/05 fiona HOW BORING! It's Dawsons Creek for 30 somethings. Yaaaawn. 1 stars
2/20/05 abhster Clive Owen makes this movie. What a terrific role, although it's a lead, not supporting 5 stars
2/15/05 Why are fish therapeutic? Fish are not as therapeutic as Natalie Portman's crapper-flappers! 3 stars
2/14/05 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
2/02/05 lisa w definitely adult themed movie, which had a much different approach to relationships 4 stars
2/02/05 Weeez This film makes you address the darker side of relationships, and consequences. 4 stars
2/01/05 kaz cold as ice..no intimacy at all.. 1 stars
2/01/05 Alison Mosbeck I felt that this film was very well-made, but I was not crazy about the themes it presented 4 stars
1/30/05 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
1/29/05 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
1/25/05 michael shulman excellent script and excellent acting 4 stars
1/24/05 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
1/13/05 Pamela thought provoking 5 stars
1/09/05 aeon i liked it. It made me feel lessl ike a freak because i ask questions like that too.... 5 stars
1/03/05 The Mockingbird That's some honesty right there. I love Portman more than ever, and my my my Clive Owen 5 stars
1/03/05 Movie Lover waste of time. waste of Money. 1 stars
12/31/04 I.S> Worst piece of crap I've seen in years! 1 stars
12/28/04 Lynn disturbing. ruthless. absolutely loved it. 4 stars
12/27/04 Steve Nothing in this movie made me care about what happens. 2 stars
12/24/04 Gilly Concarne execrable 1 stars
12/22/04 carleton fine film , interesting everything 5 stars
12/21/04 Randy 2 excrutiating hours of witnessing 4 miserable, self-absorbed, uninteresting people 1 stars
12/19/04 Kyle Wonderful movie. 5 stars
12/19/04 jcjs wow, humdinger, tough stuff 5 stars
12/15/04 ZF an effective semi-wrenching film about people manipulating each other emotionally 4 stars
12/15/04 Elizabeth Interesting. The dialogue is too "written", though the CONTENT is believable. 3 stars
12/14/04 dbx If you're going to be pretentious, at least be good at it. 1 stars
12/13/04 UMER I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH LUCAS 1 stars
12/13/04 Lucas Stensland Worse movie I've seen this year 1 stars
12/13/04 Nicole Depressing - shows just how shitty people can treat each other 4 stars
12/12/04 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
12/11/04 Maureen I walked out. I was not prepared for the vulgarness. I am not a prude but after 1 hr. of it 1 stars
12/11/04 Suzz so-so acting; terrible screenplay;a 'message' only a 20/30 something could find revelatory 2 stars
12/10/04 I I 1 stars
12/08/04 Dirt Whore beautiful...I want to eat Natalie's ass 5 stars
12/06/04 Gary Not bad......Portman is hotter then ever! Good acting; poor script! 3 stars
12/06/04 Jimmy Kustes For a mainstream movie it had a very indie feel 4 stars
12/05/04 Donna I 4 stars
12/05/04 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
12/02/04 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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