104 Min. | Drama – Romance | September 2005
IMDB Rating: 7.3
Director: Mike Nichols
Staring: Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Clive Owen
Closer Review: Closer is beautiful, terrible, and real. Sadly, in a world where we’re used to hearing stories in the simplest and most easy to swallow terms, I doubt that the average lover of romantic comedies and action flicks will like it. Closer is a story about the perpetual struggles found in human relationships and if you’re used to seeing on-screen romance played out with operatic tragedy, (The English Patient) fable-like tenderness (Like Water for Chocolate), or perfect endings (Officer and a Gentleman), you might be out of luck with Closer. If, however, you think you’d like to see something a little more up-close, complex and real, this might be a movie that will change the way you think about love.
Closer revolves around this theme. On the one hand, it does this through the literal story of a man wanting to know the details of how and where and with whom his wife cheated on him, vainly trying to take back those intimate moments and claim them as his own. On the other hand, however, Closer uses this theme in a much more general way. A man may grasp at the lustful experiences of his wife, trying to reverse his exclusion from them, but the way that grasping is employed in Closer shows us that even if it weren’t for the infidelity, he would be grasping anyway. We all would. Our need to feel we have complete possession of our lover is what drives us to desperately dig deeper and deeper, trying to gain some secret knowledge of who and what they are at their most pure and uncompromised level.
In the end, however, this level doesn’t exist. The digging, the struggling and the grasping is futile as no person can be reduced to a singular truth. We are an entirely different thing, practically a different animal, from moment to moment. As Natalie Portman’s character so perfectly illustrates by the end, even the most mundane details about who we are can turn out to be transitory or meaningless. That’s not a pretty area of human life to shine a light on but Mike Nichols does it and with an unflinching ability. If it’s a perspective you’re prepared to spend some time considering, Closer might just be the movie to get the ball rolling.