Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Clive Owen, Julia Roberts, Nick Hobbs
Director: Mike Nichols
A witty, romantic, and very dangerous love story about chance meetings, instant attractions, and casual betrayals. Closer is director Mike Nichols' critically acclaimed look at four strangers - Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Nat... more »
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You Always Hurt The One You Love
MICHAEL ACUNA | Southern California United States | 12/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Closer" is a handbook about how not to act in a relationship. It is about deception in all its various permutations: lying, cheating, pretending to love someone, pretending not to love someone.
"Closer" is about anything other then actually being close. In fact "Closer" is about staying as far away emotionally from people as you can: playing games with each other, taunting each other with frank descriptions of intimate encounters and instigating brutal arguments in which the need to hurt and cut as deeply as possible is paramount.
The four involved are: Alice (Natalie Portman), Dan (Jude Law), Anna (Julia Roberts) and Larry (Clive Owen)
Adapted from Patrick Marber's play of the same name, "Closer" several times retains the artificiality of a stage play. Movies are naturalistic, the Stage is artificial and at times the screenplay and Mike Nichols direction leads the actors down the wrong path artistically: for example Julia Roberts, the warmest of screen actresses actually comes off arch and stilted saying some of her lines.
But about midway through, things even out and Marber and Nichols get down to telling their story in movie terms. It's interesting to note that many scenes here remind me of Nichols's first film, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" in their eagerness to go for the throat.
One outstanding scene between Anna and Larry has them going at each other like wounded, feral animals. I can't think of another recent film scene that packs such an emotional wallop. One that makes you wince because, by this point you know the characters well, they use words to slice each other up like surgeons performing heart surgery.
Law and Roberts play difficult characters to like much less love, which is probably what appealed to both of these actors on paper. But Anna and Dan are both emotional wrecks stuck out in a sea of diffidence and indecision and everyone around them is equally coflicted and emotionally closed. But, beautiful failures though they made be, Anna and Dan are nonetheless at the epicenter of this foursome. At times, Law and Roberts are effective and at others not so much.
Clive Owen is the real revelation here as Larry: a Dermatologist addicted to Computer Chat Rooms, from more earthy, humble beginnings than Anna and Dan...but very proud of his accomplishments. Owen plays him rough but sincere and when he tells Anna that he doesn't lie...you believe him.
Natalie Portman comes off best I think as 24-year-old Alice, who meets Dan in a classic "cute meet" manner: she is hit by a car and he helps her to the hospital. Portman, who has played Anne Frank on the stage and has less movie time than any of the other principals, plays Alice as if it is the last role she will ever play: she's direct, she's touching, she's sexy.
There is definitely something chilling and icy about the world that Nichols and Marber create in "Closer." Tread lightly here, keep your feelings to yourself and don't get involved, you just might survive a visit intact.
Lee Armstrong | Winterville, NC United States | 10/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Closer" is a heavyweight breathtaking drama that rivets the viewer's attention. The characters are not entirely likable, although each is eminently watchable. Director Mike Nichols won the Oscar for Best Director for "The Graduate" in 1967 and has been nominated 3 other times for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966), "Silkwood" (1983), & "Working Girl" (1988). Along with films like "Primary Colors" and the TV mini-series "Angels in America," he has an unparalleled ear for dialogue. No, it's not particularly pleasant. No, these are not the people your pastor hopes you will be. But each of these characters represent needs and desires that are shared by most people and are as confused by them as are many. Patrick Marber's screenplay adaptation of his stage drama is heart-wrenchingly truthful.
Of the four strong performances here, the most revelatory for me was Julia Roberts' portrayal of American photographer Anna living in London. She is selfish but has a conscience. She takes what she wants, but tries not to admit to it. In the scene with Larry where she breaks up her marriage, it is some of the best screen time of her career. When Larry grills her on the details of her sexual relationship with Dan, her zinger about the taste of his semen, "It's like yours only sweeter" is like a bullet shot from a gun. It recalls the Elizabeth Taylor line in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," "You can take it; you married me for it." It is utterly fearless and brilliant. What a raw amazing performance!
As Dan, Jude Law turns is an edgy self-effacing performance that adds to his reputation as one of the great young actors. His scenes with Natalie Portman are enhanced by their similar pairing in "Cold Mountain." On camera, Law is magnetic. As Dan, the writer of the newspaper obituary column, he turns the ordinary into the extraordinary.
Clive Owen is amazing as the strong less-than-sensitive type. His internet sex dialogues with Jude Law's Dan posing as Anna on the computer are as intense as they are manipulated. When he sits in the aquarium with Anna and with tremendous embarrassment learns the truth, he admits, "He certainly can write!" In the scene with Julia Roberts he bellows "I'm a caveman." It seems to typify the heart of "Closer," investigating these very primal sexual urges we have and how they interweave with the emotional attachments we call "love." Owen was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for this role and won the Golden Globe Award.
As Alice, Natalie Portman turns in an amazing performance. Her character seems somewhat beyond reach, but she works the territory masterfully, exploring each need and nuance as if it were a beautiful discovery. Portman was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar and also won the Golden Globe Award.
Damien Rice's song "The Blower's Daughter" is an interesting DVD extra with that riveting chorus, "Can't take my eyes off of you." It's the perfect love song for this film, part pure love and part compulsive addiction. Mike Nichols has worked with an excellent cast and polished this dialogue to perfection. The rhythms build and twist and the lovers attract, repel, trust and betray. It does not so much build to an inevitable conclusion so much as it feels like we've followed the characters through a very intense period of life. This is a film that will be watched and discussed for decades. Bravo!"
Most honest film I've ever seen.
Kiki | Santa Barbara, California | 02/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Closer" is vulgar, depressing, bizarre and brutally honest.
I loved every minute of it."
Great character study! Which one are you?
Born-Identity | Los Angeles | 09/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is RAW. If you want a feel good, bubble gum and lollipops type of movie, this is not for you.
This is one of the BEST character studies I have seen in a long time. It's ugly, it's raw, but it's REAL and that could be why some felt so ill at ease. To like this movie is to accept that people really are this selfish and ugly-hearted. This could very well happen and that's what turns your stomach.
By far, Clive Owen owns this movie! You are disgusted by him from beginning to end, but find yourself rooting for him on several occasions, then mad at yourself that you are doing so. But then when you look at the alternative for Anna (Julia Roberts) in Dan (Jude Law), you allow yourself the moral misstep. Dan is quietly selfish and insecure. You realize early on there's an invisible bar that he's set that no one can meet or sustain.
At the end of this movie, you'll ask yourself (in regards to family, friends, and intimate relationships) are you the one setting the unrealistic bar, or are you the one trying to meet one? Are you being yourself while also allowing others to be who they are.
"Alice" was played BRILLIANTLY by Natalie Portman. She had the right balance of tough chick and little-girl-lost. You clearly understood she was someone who wanted to be loved and accepted "as is" flawed and all. Doesn't everyone? She was the only innocent one, so to speak, in the entire quadrangle. She gave her body at the end masking her rejection and hurt. We all know someone whose done this or continues to do this. Although clearly misguided, Alice is the only one who didn't maliciously or selfishly hurt someone she claimed to love.
What makes Larry so remarkable is that he understood they were all flawed INCLUDING HIMSELF, but unlike Dan, accepted it. He knew Anna was a depressive. She didn't have to stay "up" and perfect for him. Larry allowed her to have her blue funks because he knew exactly what made her function comfortably. He was quite content in lifting and supporting her in her art of "photographing sad people beautifully" as Alice said, hitting the Anna nail right on the head. Anna was beautiful to the world, but was sad upon closer inspection. Dan never even realized her condition because it was all about him. Larry understood 'you are what you are,' anything better than that was a great moment. Because he understood this, he knew how to manipulate and orchestrate them all into ultimately getting what he wanted. Dan never got "it" in regard to his relationships because again, it was about him and distracting from his own securities. He had lived and supposedly loved Anna, but didn't really know her - same for "Alice." Any revelations as to who they really were, came from outside sources.
Alice told Larry hidden truths about herself because he was totally open with her - nothing hidden which in turn made her comfortable enough to talk.
Julia gave a great understated performance. She wasn't overly emotional, she didn't rely on her sexuality, she simply existed from moment-to-moment as a depressive does.
I challenge anyone who hated the ugliness of this movie to rewatch it with new eyes.