Wednesday 26th January 2022

Closer (15)
Directed by: Mike Nichols
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz

With the Oscars fast approaching, I've been on a mission to see all the big contenders before the winners are announced. The subject of this week's review is one of the last on my hitlist, and has been nominated for two Academy Awards by my count.

Natalie Portman and the Oscar-worthy Clive Owen
Natalie Portman and the Oscar-worthy Clive Owen

Set in London, the story follows the lives of four people, Natalie Portman as a stripper, Julia Roberts as a photographer, Jude Law as a failed writer and Clive Owen (back on form after the appalling King Arthur) as a doctor. Their paths cross and intertwine as they all fall in and out of love with each other in what would be a love triangle, but as there are four corners to this story, it should be a love square.

Natalie Portman is not only beautiful and sexy in this picture, but as always she puts in a marvellous performance. Jude Law and Clive Owen are also splendid in their respective roles, just leaving Julia Roberts as her usual winsome self.

The film feels very much like a play (in fact it was a play originally) in that it is set in only a handful of locations, most of which are indoors, and really features no characters other than the main four. The structure has also been inherited from the play, as the film shifts from scene to scene with little or no indication of time passing, even when months or years go by, which can be a little confusing. In fact, if it weren't for the three outstanding performances and that of the winsome one, this film could easily have turned into a late night BBC 2 affair, escaping the critical acclaim it has received.

The story is reasonably acceptable, and certain scenes and ideas in the film will stay with you after watching it, but overall it is the acting that makes the film and in the end makes it at all memorable. In fact, it is worth seeing just to see what a difference it can make to a film by hiring decent actors.

Indeed, it is probably a fair reflection on Closer as a film that its two Oscar nominations are for Portman's and Owen's performances, rather than for the picture, screenplay, direction or editing. For my money, Clive Owen, who starred in the original stage production as Jude Law's character, is the hot favourite to win his category come February 27th.

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Length: 104 minutes
Certificate: 15
Official Site:
IMDB Link:
Release Date: 14th January 2005

Top Five Rating: 70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0% (70.0%)
User Rating: 0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0% (0.0%)

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