Closer isn’t always better.
You know those times when you’re like: “TMI! TMI! Too Much Information!”
Okay, I’m joking. Those times are rarely that serious. But there are times when something happens or something’s shared that you just wish had never happened. Either because the incident will just make things awkward or because now things will never be the same. Point is, sharing, being vulnerable, being exposed – it can mean happily growing closer; it can also mean letting in something deadly. And it is that latter point the film Closer (2004) exposes.
Closer is about a love quadrangle, in which everyone seeks love but comes out looking the worse for it. We all know relationships are complicated. But how many realize, or explore to quite the same depth as director Mike Nichols’ film does, how really seriously messy relationships can be?
Closer opens with a girl (Natalie Portman), hair dyed pink, walking down a London street catching the eye of a guy (Jude Law). Then she gets hit by a car. because she’s American and she’s forgotten Londoners drive on the left.
She’s introduced as Alice; we learn she’s a stripper. He’s introduced as Daniel, an aspiring novelist who in the meantime writes obituaries for a local newspaper.
Jump ahead: Daniel’s getting his portrait taken by a photographer named Anna (Julia Roberts). The portrait photo is for the cover jacket of his new novel, which it turns out, tells the life story of a girl named Alice. Through the dialogue we learn that he and the real-life Alice are now romantically involved.
But when Daniel learns his latest acquaintance, Anna (the photographer), is often inspired as he is by the sudden connections she forms with strangers, he quickly grows fond of her and she of him. They kiss.
Alice shows up. She’s overheard the two talking and is pissed. Anna photographs her crying.
Jump ahead: Daniel is luring in an at-this-time-anonymous dermatologist (Clive Owen) through an online chatroom by pretending to be a woman. Daniel pretends his name is Anna and says they should meet tomorrow at the aquarium, which happens to be the favorite hang-out spot for the real-life Anna.
The next day our dermatologist goes to the aquarium. He sees Anna sitting on a bench, as if waiting for someone. He introduces himself as Larry. Of course she doesn’t recognize him.
They realize they’ve been played. But they roll with it. Larry buys Anna balloons when he learns it’s her birthday. A year or so later, they’re married. At least as far as this film goes to show – there’s always something toxic that with intimacy grows.