- Closer (film)
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Mike Nichols Produced by Mike Nichols
Screenplay by Patrick Marber Based on Closer by
Starring Julia Roberts
Music by Suzana Peric Cinematography Stephen Goldblatt Editing by John Bloom
Antonia Van Drimmelen
Distributed by Columbia Pictures Release date(s) December 3, 2004 Running time 104 minutes Country United States Language English Budget $27 million 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. It was produced and directed by Mike Nichols and stars Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts, Jude Law 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. 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.
In the opening scene, a girl (Natalie Portman) and a young man (Jude Law) see each other for the first time from opposite sides of a street in London. The girl looks in the wrong direction as she crosses the street and is hit by a taxicab right in front of the young man. He rushes over; she smiles at him and says, "hello, stranger". He takes her to a hospital, where she is treated and released. Afterward, on the way to his office, they stop by Postman's Park. Here they introduce each other: she is 20 years old and has just arrived in London from the United States where she had been stripping for a living; he's Dan Woolf, an unsuccessful aspiring British writer who is on his way to work, where he writes obituaries for a national newspaper. Before he leaves her and goes to work, he asks her for her name and she answers Alice Ayres. They soon start a relationship. A year later, 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.
Another year later, Dan enters a 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 where by coincidence Anna is. Feeling foolish, Larry apologizes but is confused by the situation. 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" as their inside joke. Four months later, at Anna's photo exhibition, 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 and they flirt. Meanwhile, Dan convinces Anna to become involved with him. A year passes, and Dan and Anna have been cheating on their partners with one another, even though Anna got married to Larry during the affair. Dan and Anna both decide to confess to Alice and Larry and are prepared to leave to be with one another. Larry confesses he had slept with a woman on his business trip, only to find out Anna has been having an affair. As Larry and Anna argue she reveals that she thought he would hit her when he found out - something Larry takes offense to. Alice leaves Dan without telling him anything about where she is going.
Alice goes back to stripping to support herself while staying in London, being still in love with Dan. One day, Larry runs into her accidentally at the strip club and realizes that he knows her, even though she is wearing a pink wig. He asks her if her name is Alice, knowing full well who she is, but no matter how much money he gives her, she keeps telling him her name is "Jane Jones." He asks her to come home with him so he can look after her, 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 smile, "heaven". Larry then demands, "Alice, tell me something true". Alice replies, "lying is the most fun a girl can have without taking her clothes off...but it's better if you do". The full irony of Alice's response is not apparent until the conclusion of the film. On the other hand, after four months living together with Dan, Anna meets Larry again to obtain divorce; Larry tries to convince her to come back with him, but she refuses, so he refuses in turn to sign for divorce unless she makes love with him for the last time, and Anna accepts. Once back home, Dan asks Anna about her meeting with Larry and understands what's happened; unable to forgive her, he breaks up the relationship.
A year or so later, Dan goes to Larry's office, asking him to let Anna come back to him, as she is now with Larry again. The office that Larry and Anna had sex in is now fully furnished and Larry is successful with his private practice. He tells Dan that Anna secretly doesn't want to be happy, and that she never turned the signed divorce papers in to her lawyer. Larry says to Dan love needs compromise and suggests to him that he try to get Alice back, but Dan doesn't know where she actually is. Larry tells him not only where to find Alice, but also that he and Alice had sex. Alice takes Dan back and she decides to take them both to America as a surprise vacation. They get a hotel room near Heathrow Airport, happy to be back together. Alice notes that four years ago today is the day when they first met on that London street. They reminisce, then Dan can't help himself and asks her whether she had a one-night stand with Larry, which she initially denies. 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 have sex with Larry that night he found her working at the strip club. Dan then reveals that Larry had already told him about the one-night stand but that he's already forgiven her. She is angry that he tricked her and insists that it's over and tells him to leave. He refuses, but she tells him that if he doesn't go voluntarily she will call security. He does not believe this, and so she picks up the phone. He grabs her arm and questions her angrily about why she slept with Larry. She eventually says it's because Dan wasn't there, they continue to argue, and she spits in his face. Dan almost hits her but refrains. She encourages him to hit her and he does. She looks at him in shock.
After Dan hits her, Alice returns to New York alone. Passing through the immigration checkpoint on her way back into the United States, it is revealed through a shot of her passport that her name is indeed Jane Rachel Jones (the name she had given Larry in the strip club) 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. To his surprise, he 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 on Broadway towards W 47th St, approaching a red "do not walk" pedestrian light; with passers-by staring at her, stunned at her beauty. A scene symmetrical with the opening scene, where Alice/Jane and Dan are staring at each other on the streets of London.
- Julia Roberts as Anna Cameron
- Jude Law as Dan Woolf
- Natalie Portman as Alice Ayres/Jane Jones
- Clive Owen as Larry Gray
- Nick Hobbs as taxi driver
- Colin Stinton as customs officer
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. The soundtrack also contains songs from Jem, Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan, Bebel Gilberto, The Devlins, 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.
The film received generally positive reviews from critics. The review summary site Rotten Tomatoes shows a 69% positive rating based on 188 reviews. Another review aggregator, Metacritic, shows a 65% positive rating based on 42 reviews. 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."
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. 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.
Awards and nominations
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 Award – Patrick 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
- ^ a b c "boxofficemojo.com". Closer (2004). http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=closer.htm. Retrieved 21 March 2006.
- ^ Daniel Felsenfeld (November 8, 2006). "Così fan tutte and the Shock of the Now". http://www.playbillarts.com/features/article/5558.html. Retrieved 2009-06-08.
- ^ "Così fan tutte and the Shock of the Now" by Daniel Felsenfeld, Nov 08, 2006
- ^ "Closer – Movie Reviews, Trailers, Pictures – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/closer/. Retrieved 2009-11-07.
- ^ "Closer (2004): Reviews". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/film/titles/closer. Retrieved 2009-11-07.
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