What is the Movie "Chloe" About?

by Erik Arvidson

A remake of the 2004 French film "Nathalie," the 2009 erotic thriller "Chloe" tells the story of a middle-aged woman who, distressed that the passion seems to be gone from her marriage, decides to test her husband's fidelity by hiring a high-priced prostitute to seduce him. The film, directed by Atom Egoyan, stars Julianne Moore and Liam Neeson, who play the married couple, and Amanda Seyfried, who plays the title character.


Catherine Stewart is a Toronto gynecologist who worries that her husband, a music professor named David, doesn't find her attractive anymore. David frequently travels to New York to teach and he flirts with some of his female students. When Catherine plans a surprise birthday party for David, he calls her to tell her that he missed his flight home. Combined with an incriminating text message, Catherine suspects that David stayed in New York because he's having an affair.


Catherine meets Chloe in the bathroom of an upscale restaurant and decides to employ her as bait. Catherine tells Chloe that she can meet David at a coffee shop that he goes to each morning. Soon, Chloe is successful in seducing David and she begins regularly recounting their sexual encounters to Catherine in detail. Rather than jealousy, Catherine is aroused and eventually begins having sex with Chloe.


Chloe is portrayed as an intelligent, attractive woman who has complex motives for having sexual relations with both David and Catherine. She seems to enjoy the "psychological control of her clients," according to film critic Roger Ebert. Catherine appears at the beginning of the film to be a woman in control of herself but she turns out to be quite insecure, especially about her looks as she ages. David is portrayed as a disinterested husband and an enigma to Catherine.


According to Ebert, the central theme of the film is Chloe's motives for seducing the couple -- whether she did it only for money or whether something else was driving her -- which are never made fully clear. In addition, the sexuality of each of the characters transforms them and forces them to make difficult decisions.