A Couple of Couples
Review by Ross Anthony

This film has been adapted from a play, and it feels like it. Heavy on a dialogue that cycles through clever, humorous and occasionally tedious, "Closer" examines love and commitment (and infractions thereof).

Basically, writer (Law) meets stripper (Portman) then photographer (Roberts). Later Doctor (Owen) gets involved. While sex is widely and at times graphically talked about, it's rarely shown. The film itself is not sexy, save for a rather sensual opening scene in which Portman and Law walk through bustling streets in slow motion towards each other. That beautiful scene makes promises it does not keep.

The meat of the film is raw, interested more in the pain of betrayal, revenge, manipulation, and the anguish of love. Yet for all that emotion, very little is actually felt by the audience. The picture sports almost no chemistry between the actors and has an overall rather cold feel. Perhaps, this is because the film delights/indulges in clever conversation. Although some of that conversation is really quite interesting and at times shockingly funny. Or perhaps, the overdosing of twists, couple-related topics, and the absence of the everyday distract the production from some solidity.

All four leads are highly talented actors. I've seen each of them give unbelievably powerful performances in the past. Perhaps due to the limitations of their roles, for the most part they are only good. However, Clive Owens shines, not just with vulnerability and power, but believability. Without him (and his interesting character) the film would fail for me. (I also enjoyed Owen's performance in "King Arthur.")

Quote from the director:
"Closer concerns itself with the fact that, in love, we remember beginnings and endings and tend to edit out the middles. It asks interesting questions like 'how do we really remember things and how does life really look to us?'"

  • Closer. Copyright © 2004.
  • Starring Clive Owen, Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Julia Roberts.
  • Directed by Mike Nichols. Screenplay by Patrick Marber.
  • Based on the play.
  • Produced by John Calley, Cary Brokaw, Mike Nichols at Inside Track/Columbia Pictures.

Grade..........................B (2/4)

Copyright © 1998-2022 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:16:51 PDT