Closer (Superbit Edition)

Closer (Superbit Edition)

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Closer (Superbit Edition)

Top reviews from the United States

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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 2, 2006

“Closer” is a film about four people and the role that truth (or different kinds of truth) plays in their relationships as they try to get closer to themselves and to each other. The mixed reaction from viewers is because while “Closer” is a nicely packaged film and a fast-paced intelligent screenplay; the four main characters are “extremes” or at least extreme examples of the behaviors at the allegorical core of the film. These “expressionistically” drawn characters offend and disappoint the viewer segment expecting realistic and sympathetic portrayals (insert “characters with whom they can identify” here).

But they are extreme because they are intended to illustrate (in obvious ways) certain subtle elements of our romantic relationships. The two male characters, Dan (Jude Law) and Larry (Clive Owen), are products of and participants in the most fundamental Darwinian courtship process. Despite making a pretense of having evolved from the competitive courtship of male primates, they are still driven more by the need to win and secure a trophy than by a quest to love. Likewise Anna, the older female (Julia Roberts), is attracted by the male demonstrations of dominance, both the physical bluster of strength and the mental head games intended to manipulate her emotions. Accordingly her behavior encourages these demonstrations by the males.

Contrasted with these three is the younger female (Natalie Portman) who seeks a man who can transcend primitive drives, loving her and allowing her to love him.

Into this mix writer Patrick Marber inserts the truth factor in an ironic way. Portman’s character places little value on words, adopting a false name at the beginning of the film. That she is superficially living a lie is ironic because she is the only one of the four who does not lie about their true feelings or engage in self-deception. Her transparency and detached self-awareness is symbolized by her job as a stripper.

The other three torture themselves and each other with superficial truths while engaging in compulsive deception about their actions and actual feelings, to each other and to themselves. Their duplicity is symbolized by their occupations. Dan is an obit writer, skilled in the use of euphemisms to disguise the unflattering characteristics of the deceased. Anna is a photographer, skilled in freezing a single moment in time uncharacteristic of the actual subject she is representing. Larry is a dermatologist focused on the superficial surface that one publicly presents.

The key exchange occurs early in the film as Alice and Dan discuss how essential euphemisms are in his job:

Alice: What would my euphemism be? Dan: She was… disarming. Alice: That’s not a euphemism. Dan: Yes, it is.

Alice’s up-front and open behavior causes him to let down his guard and feel a higher level of emotion, but his need to make new conquests and to test his attractiveness soon reasserts itself. She is willing to forgive this until finally convinced that he cannot transcend something so much a part of his basic nature. With this realization she falls out of love.

“Closer” is much like “XX/XY” in its exploration of the mysteries of male discontent although it is philosophically deeper and much better written. Mark Ruffalo plays Coles (the Dan character in that film), but Law’s portrayal is more convincing because he does not have to alternate between rebel and wimp, something that Ruffalo could not quite pull off.

All four performances are solid although Roberts is given very little with which to work. Portman is especially good. The problem with “Closer” is that its symbolic message is not getting through to most viewers (at least it would appear so from the many clueless reviews and comments) who try to relate to it on a literal level. But if you like abstract tales deceptively showcased in a realistic package you should really enjoy this fine film.

Then again, what do I know? I’m only a child.

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 11, 2023

Great story line and perfect cast. I very highly recommend

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on September 27, 2021

Third time I have watched this film, and I can honestly say it gets even better with each watch.

The dialogue is tremendous and utterly delicious, the closest thing I can think of to the wonderful repartee of old 1930’s comedies, other than David O Russell films. Clive Owen’s Dr. Larry is pure savage, probably my favorite character, at once both charming and also controlling, utterly gross and despicable. Although this is billed as a romantic comedy drama, there are some lines that are just doozies and will leave one rolling with laughter. For those who dislike romantic comedies, this film is spicy enough to entertain, and it’s not some sopping wet, weepy, crying “I love you” in the rain piece. It’s a film for adults and realists and yes, the characters are flawed, make mistakes, hurt one another, and are only clean on the surface.

The screenplay for Closer was written by Patrick Marber, and adapted from his play. This film centers around four main characters, and we see these characters’ lives intertwine as they navigate an emotional roller coaster of desire and deceit.

I feel this film is authentic and the characters are complicated, flawed and believable. They each lead intense emotional lives and have their own reasons for doing what they do. Fear of being hurt, using control, lies and manipulation as a form of leverage to protect oneself emotionally, etc. The film title Closer implies coming together or being near, but each time one of the characters comes closer to the truth or to another character, the further the separation. Also the juxtaposition of being in a relationship with someone, being “close” but being a stranger to that person. I could go on, as there are many subtle nuances to this film and many layers to unwrap. Overall, however, if you want to just watch an entertaining film and not delve into the psychological aspects, it’s a great character-driven film with a fantastic cast giving superb performances and really doing the screenplay justice.

Top reviews from other countries

5.0 out of 5 stars
Great film, great cast.

Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on July 30, 2022

Interesting plotline, never a dull moment!!! Superb cast too.

5.0 out of 5 stars
That the item was what it said it was.

Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on July 15, 2020

I cant say anymore about the item as i bought it as a present for some one. There has been no complaints, so all is well.
B Hearn.

4.0 out of 5 stars
kind of painful to watch

Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on January 25, 2021

a real intense story and love and sex, with no sex!

3.0 out of 5 stars
Rubbish film in my opinion

Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on September 21, 2018

Nothing wrong with disc or quality just a rubbish film.

5.0 out of 5 stars

Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on September 20, 2020

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