Until ‘Midnight in Paris’ came out two years ago, I reveled in being able to tell people my top three favorite movies all started with the same letter: ‘Clue,’ ‘Closer,’ ‘Cinema Paradiso’. It had an agreeable ring to it, not that I’m blaming ‘Midnight in Paris’ for anything. I feel like I’ve inundated you with references to that movie, so it’s high time to share my original three favorites.
First up: ‘Closer.’ Starring Jude Law, Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, and Natalie Portman, who is so young and captivating and breathtaking in this movie it’s alarming. Have you seen it? Director Mike Nichols adapted the script from play of the same name by Patrick Marber. It focuses around two nebulous couples in London, who fall in love, cheat, break each other’s hearts, lie, curse, and generally make you hate them and life in one fell swoop. The men are English and the women are American, the conversations are real and honest and raw and painful, and if you’re not feeling emotionally bruised by the end of it, you weren’t paying attention. My friend Lyndsey confiscated my copy after a breakup many years ago, but I’ve since bought another one. Sometimes you just need a swift kick in the stomach from a movie (you know, when you’re wallowing in a particularly self-loathing state).
I won’t spoil it with plot points for you, but there is some amazing dialogue in ‘Closer.’
Dan: I fell in love with her, Alice.
Alice: Oh, as if you had no choice? There’s a moment, there’s always a moment, “I can do this, I can give into this, or I can resist it”, and I don’t know when your moment was, but I bet you there was one.
Dan: You think love is simple. You think the heart is like a diagram.
Larry: Have you ever seen a human heart? It looks like a fist, wrapped in blood. Go fuck yourself, you writer! You liar!
Jude Law is slimy and terrible, Julia Roberts is an absolute mess, Clive Owen seems to be the only character aware of how awful he is to others, and the only person you end up feeling remotely sorry for is Natalie Portman’s ingénue Alice Ayres. If you haven’t seen it, I think you better fix that immediately. Just be prepared with tissues.