Review: Closer

Filed under: Reviews

Mike Nichols knows a thing or two about carnal knowledge. The 70-something director has impressive credits: The Graduate, Primary Colors, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and yes, Carnal Knowledge. Nichols loves getting his actors to bare their souls; to get down to the nuts and bolts of their being; to get as close to the truth as they can.

In Closer, Nichols gets great performances from all four stars: Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, and especially Clive Owen, who plays a real bastard.

The movie begins with Jude falling for Natalie. They end up living together, but soon Jude has fallen for Julia Roberts, a photographer. Her character, Anna Cameron, rarely gets a chance to smile and we're never sure what, or who, she really wants. She may want Clive Owen's character Larry. But Larry may want Alice, the young woman played by Natalie Portman.

The dialogue jumps off the screen, perhaps because it is harsh and at times cruel, but it's always the truth. As you may have guessed, this is not a movie for children. They'd be bored anyway. It is, however, one of the few movies this year that made me think, and in 2004, that's rare.

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