CLOSER (2004) 

Julia Roberts
Jude Law
Clive Owen
Natalie Portman
Nick Hobbs
Colin Stinton

Mike Nichols



Time: 104 mins.
Rating: R
Genre: Drama/Romance

Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress (Portman) and Best Supporting Actor (Owen).

SYNOPSIS: A simple photography session turns the lives of Anna (Roberts) and Dan (Law) upside down, sparking an attraction they can't deny and one that eventually destroys their faith in love. Neither wants to hurt their current partners Alice (Portman) and Larry (Owen), but that's exactly what happens and the results of their actions brings them much suffering for their misdeeds. It turns out revenge is sweet and love a very dangerous game that not everyone can win.

BOTTOM LINE: I have to give much credit to Mike Nichols for providing the over-30 set with an intelligent, thought-provoking film that cuts to the heart of the chase...and the trauma that can come afterwards. What's unique and a bit disquieting about this very adult piece is that it bounces around in time showing the pivotal moments that bring these characters together and the eventual aftermath, but leaves the roads they take to get to these places out of the picture. By cutting to the crucial moments, he creates a powerfully raw look at desire, dependance and commitment that is hard to watch because it shows the brutal consequences acting on one's improper impulses can bring. The dialogue is clever, biting and honest, sometimes feeling as hurtful as a slap with a more lasting and painful aftermath.

Owen is brilliant as the wronged lover who uses his bitterness and jealousy to win the war for Roberts' soul. He doesn't take playing the fool lightly and his decisions destroy whatever chance their was to save their relationship. Portman really struts her acting prowess as his counterpart fool blinded by love. Her innocence is brutally ruined and her performance proves once and for all that she's all grown up. Roberts gives her deepest turn to date, playing a woman who has it all and yet can't stop herself from taking more. It's a rare side for her to show onscreen and one I wish she would indulge in more. Law is cast as his usual pretty-boy, self-absorbed character, which is what the film needs, but not a big stretch for him. Of course, if he wasn't such a charming schmuck there'd be no reason for Roberts' to cheat. This is an intense, unrelenting and realistic look at modern love that's emotionally entrancing yet hard to enjoy.

Romantics beware.

"I think you owe me for deceiving me so exquisitely."

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