With Closer being such an intelligent and sophisticated motion-picture, one would think that an age-old adage of some sort could sum it up best. On the other hand, the title of an 80’s glam rock Pat Benatar song seems to suit better: "Love is a battlefield".
In this film, four ruthless warriors discover that love not only hurts, but it also destroys the very fabric of the human heart. Closer may be considered a war-zone of modern romance, but it’s far more honest, clever, and poetic than any other genre-bending tale featuring both the brutalities and commonalties of sex and love.
Closer begins with two strangers walking towards each other in slow-motion. The unfamiliar man and woman exchange glances of interest and coy smiles; then, unexpectedly, the woman is struck by a passing car. She passes out for a few moments, and then regains consciousness to find herself starring back into the same handsome man’s eyes. She says, “Hello stranger”, and from that point on, the two form a relationship.
The man introduces himself as Dan (Jude Law), a journalist of the least respectable status (a.k.a. an obituary writer). Dan soon adores Alice (Natalie Portman), the stripper/waitress, and feels both smitten by her charm and struck with serendipity. Over time, Dan and Alice develop a lasting love for each other, which inspires Dan to write a novel based on her life. However, Dan's love for Alice does not last for long.
While at a photo-shoot for his book, Dan meets Anna (Julia Roberts) a quiet, yet sexy photographer. Dan becomes obsessed over Anna to the point where he jokingly pretends to be her in an Internet chat room—telling a doctor, among other things, to meet her at the aquarium. Unfortunately for Dan, his practical joke backfires; when the horny doctor Larry (Clive Owen) and the gorgeous photographer Anna meet, they hit it off, and wind up getting married.
The remainder of the picture is full of flip-flopping between couples—watching them fall in and out of love with each other. The characters are obviously unsure of what they want. Their emotions overcome them, and by outwardly hurting others, they in turn demean themselves. Closer becomes a twisted tale of obsession, manipulation, lies, and truth that snowballs upon itself until all four sides of the love rectangle end up as equally broken-hearted and used as the others.
While sex can be a God-given gift that is devoted, passionate, and sensual to some, it can be a deceitful tool and a forlorn monster that reeks of anguish and revenge to others. With Closer, the four main characters intertwine and share in their own infidelities—causing nothing but additional angst for their rival partners.