I rented the movie Closer this weekend. I wasn’t real hot on checking it out, but there wasn’t much else that looked interesting at the time and, hey, it has Natalie Portman in it, so how could I say no?
Loooong story short, the movie went like this: Natalie Portman, a stripper, randomly meets Jude Law, a writer, while crossing the street in London. They fall in love. Time passes. Jude Law gets his picture taken by Julia Roberts and somehow during the shoot they fall in love, but Julia’s reluctant because of Natalie, so nothing happens. Jude Law decides the best way to get back at Julia for not condoning his cheating on Natalie is to get in some sex chat with Clive Owen, pretend that he’s Julia, and convince Clive to go meet Julia. Clive meets Julia and they fall in love. You following this? Eventually you find out that Jude and Julia have been dating behind Natalie and Clive’s backs, respectively, and that everyone is lying to everyone else. Ridiculous fumbling about ensues and, in the end, Jude’s single, Natalie leaves London, and Clive and Julia are together.
I can see why the critics loved this movie. They always love movies like this. Movies based on poor communication. Movies that want to seem intellectual by trying to get you to think about the role that lying plays in even the most intimate relationships. Movies that you can imagine preppy folks leaving the art house and heading over to the local indie coffee shop so they can discuss the philosophy of this and the concept of that, generally making them feel like they are better people for having seen it.
(For reference, comments on the film at IMDB include descriptions like “thought-provoking,” “multidimensional,” and “rawly realistic.” I think the avant-garde film audience needs to step away from their computer terminals for a bit.)
Here’s what I got from this movie. First, don’t cheat on your significant other - it only leads to bad news. If you do cheat, just get it out there - maintaining the lie only seems to make it worse later. And, lastly, if you’re a liar and you lie about something really important (like your name), you’d better make damn sure no one’s going to find out about it.
In all, just pass. I mean, I love Natalie Portman and pretty much see everything she’s in… but I feel like I’d rather have spent the time watching The Professional again than have the pretentiousness of Closer waved in my face.