Set in London, Mike Nichol’s Closer takes us down the path of four strangers whose lives become so entangled even they do not know when they are coming or going. It is a story that transcends the traditional love triangle, and creates a perfect square of deceit and betrayal.
Dan (Jude Law) writes obituaries to make his living. He falls for a strange woman from New York, Alice (Natalie Portman), who becomes the muse for his new book. Alice is a candid young woman with a mysterious past. Dan is intrigued by her almost juvenile outlook on life. There is an instant attraction, Dan leaves his current girlfriend and begins dating Alice.
Anna (Julia Roberts) is a photographer who takes Dan’s picture for his new book. Despite the fact that Dan is still with Alice, he falls passionately for Anna. He insists on seeing her again, but she refuses. As a practical joke, Dan sends a doctor named Larry (Clive Owen) to meet Anna, believing they have had an intimate encounter online. A year passes and Dan and Anna meet again, each with their respective lovers, Alice and Larry. From this point on secrets begin and lies, the “currency of the world,” are told.
Time passes without as much as a blink of the eye. Dan and Anna announce that they have been seeing each other and desire to be together. The story focuses less on the details of the affair, but instead on the realistic consequences. The characters seem to be able to turn love on and off like a light switch. And it is these raw moments where the laws of love are revealed. The answers to the mysteries of love are not provided; it simply gives an intimate view of what happens when the rules are broken.
The film is void of action or bright colors, yet it is captivating through its witty dialogue and complex scenes. It is a story based on chance meetings and what happens when humans become drunk with the idea of being in love. Each character is so wrapped up in the idea of falling in love that who they hurt becomes irrelevant. It is so easy to see the unadulterated reality of life through these characters’ desires and actions.
Closer does not force the audience to choose sides. Instead it creates quite the opposite reaction: wanting to see everyone win. But all is not fair in love and war. There is constant sympathy and empathy for these four characters, even as they deceive themselves and one another.
This movie examines what happens when men and women base their motives on that first moment of attraction and the rush of that new feeling; that moment when nothing else matters, not even the end result. Dan, Anna, Alice and Larry forget to see past that moment and eventually learn there is a price to pay.
Originally a play by Patrick Marber, Closer is a look into modern relationships. With its European and Broadway success, the project caught the eye of Mike Nichols (award-winning director of Angels in America and The Graduate). Nichols did not seek to pass any judgment on what is right or wrongwith the actions of Closer’s characters. Rather, his interpretation offers incite and food for thought.
How do you know when you have found true love and what price do you pay to keep it? That’s the question you’ll be asking yourself as you walk out of the theater with your significant other. Or your other significant other.
Jasmine A. Hood can be reached at email@example.com.