Closer (2004 film)

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Closer
Closer movie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Mike Nichols
Produced by Mike Nichols
Cary Brokaw
John Calley
Written by Patrick Marber
Based on Closer 
by Patrick Marber
Starring Julia Roberts
Jude Law
Natalie Portman
Clive Owen
Music by Suzana Peric
Cinematography Stephen Goldblatt
Edited by John Bloom
Antonia Van Drimmelen
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s)
  • December 3, 2004 (2004-12-03)
Running time 104 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $27 million[1]
Box office $115,505,027

Closer is a 2004 romantic drama film written by Patrick Marber, based on his award-winning 1997 play of the same name. The movie was produced and directed by Mike Nichols and stars Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman and Clive Owen. The film, like the play on which it is based, has been seen by some as a modern and tragic version of Mozart's opera Così fan tutte, with references to that opera in both the plot and the soundtrack.[2] Owen starred in the play as Dan, the role assumed by Law in the film.

The film was recognized with a number of awards and nominations, including Oscar nominations and Golden Globe wins for both Portman and Owen for their performances in supporting roles.

Plot[edit]

In the opening scene, twenty-four-year-old Alice Ayres (Natalie Portman) and Dan Woolf (Jude Law) see each other for the first time from opposite sides of a street as they are walking toward each other among many other rush hour pedestrians. Alice is a young American stripper who just arrived in London and Dan is an unsuccessful British author who is on his way to work where he writes obituaries for a newspaper. Alice looks in the wrong direction as she crosses the street and is hit by a taxi cab right in front of Dan's eyes. He rushes over. She smiles to him and says, "Hello, stranger." He takes her to hospital where Alice is treated and released. Afterward, on the way to his office, they stop by Postman's Park, the same park that he and his father visited after his mother's death. Pausing in front of the office before he leaves her and goes to work, he reminds her that traffic in England tends to come on from the right, and on impulse, he asks her for her name. They soon become lovers.

A year later, though the two are in a relationship, Dan is straying. He has written a novel based on Alice's life and while being photographed to publicize it, he flirts with the American photographer Anna Cameron (Julia Roberts). Anna shares a kiss with Dan before finding out that Dan and Alice are in a relationship. Alice arrives and borrows Anna's bathroom, leaving Anna and Dan alone again. Dan takes the chance to try to persuade Anna into having an affair with him but is cut short by Alice's return. Alice asks Anna if she can have her portrait taken as well. Anna agrees and Alice asks Dan to leave them alone during the photo shooting. While being photographed, she reveals to Anna that she overheard them, and is photographed weeping. Alice does not reveal what she overheard to Dan, even as he spends a year stalking Anna, who resists.

A year later, Dan enters an Internet cybersex chat room and randomly meets Larry Gray (Clive Owen), a British dermatologist. With Anna still on his mind, Dan pretends to be her, and using the pretense that they will be having sex, Dan convinces Larry to meet at the aquarium (where Anna told Dan she often went). Larry goes to the meeting place, only to be made a fool of. Anna tells Larry that a man who had pursued her, Dan, was most likely to blame for the setup. Soon, Anna and Larry become a couple and they refer to Dan as "Cupid" from then on.

Four months later, at Anna's photo exhibition,[3] Larry meets Alice, whom he recognizes from the tearful photograph that is one of many being exhibited. Larry knows that Alice and Dan are a couple, from talking to Anna. Meanwhile, Dan convinces Anna to become involved with him. They begin cheating on their respective lovers for a year, even though Anna and Larry become married halfway through the year. Eventually Anna and Dan each confess the affair to their respective partners, leaving their relationships for one another.

Alice goes back to being a stripper, heartbroken by her loss. One day, Larry runs into her accidentally at the strip club and he (heart-broken himself) is convinced that she is the girl he met before. He asks her if her name is Alice, but no matter how much money he gives her, she keeps telling him her name is "Jane Jones." He asks her to have a one-night stand with him but she refuses. The line of questioning becomes pornographic, albeit without any explicit nudity, when Larry asks Alice: "What does your cunt taste like?" Alice replies with a laugh: "Like heaven." Larry then demands: "Alice, tell me one thing that is the truth?" Alice replies cryptically with a smile: "Lying is the most fun a girl can have without taking her clothes off," …, "but it's better if you do."

Eventually, Larry convinces Anna to see him one last time; she agrees to sleep with him so that he will sign the divorce papers and leave her alone. Dan guesses and Anna confesses it to Dan, who takes it badly. Anna returns to Larry. Distraught, Dan confronts Larry to try and get Anna back. Instead, Larry tells him Alice's whereabouts, and suggests that he go back to her. However, out of malice, he also tells him that he had a one-night stand with her; as Dan is about to leave the room he calls him back and says, "I lied to you, I did fuck Alice… I'm just not big enough to forgive you."

Alice takes Dan back. When Dan asks her whether she had a one-night stand with Larry, she initially denies it. But when he insists on the truth, she suddenly tells him that she doesn't love him anymore and goes on to say that she did sleep with Larry. Dan then reveals that Larry had already told him about the one-night stand but that he's already forgiven her. She insists that it's over and tells him to leave. A heated argument ensues, ending with Alice spitting in Dan's face, saying that she is no one, and Dan replying with a slap.

The Alice Ayres tile in Postman's Park, London

In the end, Alice returns to New York. Passing through the immigration checkpoint on her way back into the United States, it is revealed through a shot of her passport that her real name is indeed Jane Rachel Jones and that she had lied about her name for the duration of her four-year relationship with Dan.

Back in London, Dan returns to Postman's Park, and to his surprise, notices the name "Alice Ayres" on a tile that is dedicated to a girl, "who by intrepid conduct", and at the cost of her young life, saved three children. The final scene shows Alice/Jane walking towards East 47th Street, in Manhattan, approaching a red traffic light, where passers-by are turning their heads staring at her, stunned at her beauty.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Filming[edit]

Closer was filmed at Elstree Film and Television Studios and on location in London.

Music[edit]

The main theme of the film follows Mozart's opera Così fan tutte, with references to that opera in both the plot and the soundtrack.[4] The soundtrack also contains songs from Jem, Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan, Bebel Gilberto, The Devlins, The Prodigy and The Smiths.

The music of Irish folk singer Damien Rice is featured in the film, most notably the song "The Blower's Daughter," whose lyrics drew many parallels with the themes present in the film. The opening notes from Rice's song "Cold Water" are also used repeatedly, notably in the memorial park scenes. Rice wrote a song titled "Closer" which was intended for use in the film but was not completed in time.[citation needed]

Reception[edit]

Critical reaction[edit]

The film received generally positive reviews from critics. The review summary site Rotten Tomatoes shows 68% positive ratings among 202 reviews.[5] Another review aggregator, Metacritic, shows 65% positive ratings among 42 reviews.[6] Roger Ebert, writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, said of the people involved with the film, "[t]hey are all so very articulate, which is refreshing in a time when literate and evocative speech has been devalued in the movies." Peter Travers, writing for Rolling Stone, said, "Mike Nichols’ haunting, hypnotic Closer vibrates with eroticism, bruising laughs and dynamite performances from four attractive actors doing decidedly unattractive things." Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "[d]espite involved acting and Nichols' impeccable professionalism as a director, the end result is, to quote one of the characters, a bunch of sad strangers photographed beautifully." The New York Times’ A.O. Scott wrote, "[u]nlike most movie love stories, Closer does have the virtue of unpredictability. The problem is that, while parts are provocative and forceful, the film as a whole collapses into a welter of misplaced intensity."

Box office[edit]

The film was released on December 3, 2004 in North America. Closer opened in limited release, but theater count was increased after the film was released. The film was domestically a moderate financial success, grossing $33,987,757.[1] Huge success followed in the international market, where the film grossed an additional $81,517,270, accounting for over 70% of its worldwide gross, which turned to $115,505,027. The film was produced on a budget of US$27 million.[1]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The film won the following awards:

Year Award Category – Winner(s)
2005 BAFTA Awards Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role – Clive Owen
2005 Golden Globes Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture – Clive Owen
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture – Natalie Portman
2005 Las Vegas Film Critics Society Best Supporting Actor – Clive Owen
2004 National Board of Review Best Acting by an Ensemble – Jude Law, Clive Owen, Natalie Portman and Julia Roberts
2004 New York Film Critics Circle Best Supporting Actor – Clive Owen
2004 San Diego Film Critics Society Best Supporting Actress – Natalie Portman
2004 Toronto Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actor, Male – Clive Owen

The film was nominated for the following awards:

Year Award Category – Nominee(s)
2005 Academy Awards Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture – Clive Owen
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture – Natalie Portman
2005 American Screenwriters Association Discover Screenwriting AwardPatrick Marber
2005 BAFTA Awards Best Screenplay – Adapted – Patrick Marber
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role – Natalie Portman
2005 Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Acting Ensemble – Jude Law, Clive Owen, Natalie Portman, and Julia Roberts
Best Supporting Actor – Clive Owen
Best Supporting Actress – Natalie Portman
2005 Golden Globes Best Director – Motion Picture – Mike Nichols
Best Motion Picture – Drama
Best Screenplay – Motion Picture – Patrick Marber
2005 Online Film Critics Society Best Screenplay, Adapted – Patrick Marber
Best Supporting Actor – Clive Owen
Best Supporting Actress – Natalie Portman
2005 Satellite Award Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Drama – Clive Owen
Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Drama – Natalie Portman
Best Film Editing – John Bloom and Antonia Van Drimmelen
Best Screenplay, Adapted – Patrick Marber
2005 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actress: Drama – Natalie Portman

Home media[edit]

Closer was released on DVD in 2005 and Blu-ray on May 22, 2007.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "boxofficemojo.com". Closer (2004). Retrieved 21 March 2006. 
  2. ^ Daniel Felsenfeld (November 8, 2006). "Così fan tutte and the Shock of the Now". Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  3. ^ The scene at the photo exhibition is the only one where all four characters are seen together.
  4. ^ "Così fan tutte and the Shock of the Now" by Daniel Felsenfeld, Nov 08, 2006
  5. ^ "Closer – Movie Reviews, Trailers, Pictures – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-11-07. 
  6. ^ "Closer (2004): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2009-11-07. 

External links[edit]