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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

'Closer': A Provocative and Deeply Involved Tale of Lustfulness, Adoration and Chicanery

Movie poster for the film Closer starring Jude Law, Julia Roberts, Clive Owen and Natalie Portman

Closer (2004) is a provocative and deeply involved drama that follows two London-based couples entangled in interweaving love affairs. Fledgling British writer (Jude Law) chances to encounter seductive young American girl Alice (Natalie Portman) on the streets of London, and their ensuing liaison draws American photographer Anna Cameron (Julia Roberts) and British doctor Larry Gray (Clive Owen) into a complex web of seduction.

A year after his first brush with the alluring young Alice, Dan finds himself enjoying newfound literary success after penning his lover's life story. When publicizing the work, however, he falls under Anna's sway at a photoshoot—his efforts surreptitiously rebuffed once Alice appears on the scene. Sometime later he pranks a stranger (Larry) in a cybersex chat room and impersonates Anna, inviting Larry to rendezvous at the aquarium that Dan knows she frequents. To Dan's profound surprise his ruse is inadvertently successful, with Anna and Larry soon falling into their own desirous love affair. Yet only after the disparate quartet convenes at Anna's photo exhibition some months later are the stakes truly raised—each of the gentlemen becoming unscrupulously enamored with the other's bedmate.

Adapted by Patrick Marber from his own play (a modernized take on Mozart's opera Così Fan Tutte) and directed by legendary filmmaker Mike Nichols (The Graduate, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), Closer is a enthralling tale of scorching passions and impenitent duplicity. Marber and Nichols have translated Marber's play to the screen with a deft hand, drawing his articulate and vigorous dialogue to the center of our attention while pulling no punches in delivering every ounce of candor to the screen. Aided immeasurably by the ardent performances of its four leads (Owen and Portman standing out in particular), it's a vibrant depiction of eroticism and entanglement in the modern era.


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