“Lying is the best thing a girl can do without taking her clothes off.  But it’s more fun if you do.”

– Natalie Portman as “Alice” in “Closer”

  I usually save my rating until the end of my review.  However I’m so bursting with enthusiasm over this erotic tale adapted from the mesmerizing play by Patrick Marber, that I can’t contain it.  I give this film three out of four stars.

  Dear folks, I would give it four if it didn’t feel like a stage play.  When I’m watching a film it shouldn’t feel like I’m watching a play…And it felt as if I was watching a play—particularly a scene between Clive Owens and Natalie Portman at a strip club, which was too long.  Also as terrific as Natalie is in the aforementioned scene, Clive stole it right out from under her.  Come to think of it, Clive stole quite a lot of scenes, I smell possible Oscar nod.

  Yes Natalie does have that amazing angel face which deserves an award all its own, but trust me Clive steals her thunder.  You would think our dear Natalie would be miscast as the jaded stripper Alice.  However, her angel face is a great juxtaposition to the filthy language and the character itself.  Plus she held her own against one of the biggest veteran actresses of all, Julia.

  I know what you’re thinking that it’s about time I mentioned the leggy star with the smile that makes most men crumble.  I also know most of the American public loves seeing that same famous smile flash while she experiences romantic turmoil—at least on celluloid.  Yet this here movie buff loved seeing Julia at her deliciously icy best.  She was letter perfect in her performance and hit every emotional note.  Admittedly Mike Nichols could direct a good performance out of a rock, but believe me when I say Julia is sublime.

  However, the entire casting was just genius, and the language was honest and raw, and so provocative I was blushing every five minutes.  I’m not a prude as you all know, but there were some scenes that made me feel as if I was being a voyeur and that’s to Mike Nichol’s credit.

  I must put out a WARNING, WARNING, WARNING.  This film is not for the faint at heart or anyone who’s in the least bit prudish.  This film is frank in its sexuality, so it probably doesn’t need to be said, but…don’t bring the kids.


By: Dawn Shannon

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