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Any time a play is made into a major motion picture, you get an unusual film. The unusual thing is that the characters talk. Sometimes that's all they do. I love David Mamet movies (House of Games, The Spanish Prisoner, The Winslow Boy) because they are all talk. Closer is adapted from the play of the same name. It tells the story of four extremely good-looking people and their relationships to each other. They are a doctor (Clive Owen), a writer (Jude Law), a photographer (Julia Roberts) and a stripper (Natalie Portman). The story takes place in London over several years as Law meets and falls in love with Portman, then meets and falls in love with Roberts, while Roberts meets and falls in love with Owen who then meets and falls in love with Portman. You get the idea. And, all they do is talk about it. There is, apparently, a lot of sex going on, but it is all offscreen. As you may know, Julia and Natalie are the anti-Naomi's. Neither has ever done a nude scene. Natalie comes close (closer?) here. In fact, they filmed a nude scene but it went onto the cutting room floor. Portman does have one titillating scene where she is talking to Owen while removing various articles of clothing.
Adapting plays where there is no action to the screen can be difficult, but the director of Closer is the legendary Mike Nichols. He does a really good job of directing a movie that is exciting to watch as well as to listen to. Ya, Ya, Ya, I know. With all those pretty faces on the screen, it wasn't too hard. There is lots of eye candy for both genders in Closer. But it is very well done. And the cast is really great. They have had a busy year, making twelve movies between the four of them. Of course, Jude 'the hardest working man in Hollywood' Law has six movies out this year! The other movies are, Portman (Garden State), Roberts (Ocean's 12), Law (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Alfie, I Heart Huckabees, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Aviator), and Owen (King Arthur). In Closer, they all get to shine. It's nice to see that all four of these really good-looking actors can really act. Closer has a good script and the emotions get pretty raw. At any given moment in Closer, two, three, even all four of the characters are very unhappy.
By the end of Closer, you get a bit burned out on all the switching of partners. But this movie seems pretty realistic to me, after 30+ years of dating. Of course, there are two things I have never experienced. First, I’ve never pretended that I was a woman in a chatroom. And second, I’ve never had to choose between Natalie Portman and Julia Roberts. I mean what would you do if you were Jude Law or Clive Owen? Ditto for Roberts and Portman, trying to choose between two hunks. Maybe you would just oscillate from one to the other, never able to make up your mind. See what you think.