There are four characters in Closer, the most intriguing film to make its way to mainstream cinema screens in years. None of the characters is notably likable or reprehensible. Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, and Clive Owen play four middle-class humans, their only differences from you, your brothers, and your neighbors being perfect lighting, better art direction, and appropriately interesting professions. Chance meetings occur, affections flip, and this well-plotted love quadrilateral morphs and flails over the course of four years that are deftly compressed into just under two hours of film. The acting is strong and the dialog superb. Director Mike Nicholls puts on display the affections, torments, and actions of four typical representatives of species Homo sapiens sapiens. We’re a species prone to deceit, self-loathing, and foolishness, and like a mirror Patrick Marber’s script shows us our dirty reflection. Few movies show humans as we are. I suspect, as the film suggests, that this is because reality is an image we don’t often care to acknowledge.
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