What Is the Movie "Closer"?

by David Harris

"Closer" is a drama released in 2004 by Sony Pictures, starring Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman and Clive Owen. The film received fairly good reviews, despite its depressing subject matter. This movie, directed by Mike Nichols and based on Patrick Marber's 1997 play, deals mainly with infidelity and betrayal.


The movie opens as Dan (Law), an unsuccessful writer who writes obituaries, notices a young woman (Portman) on a London street. She looks the wrong way when crossing the street and is hit by a car. Dan takes her to hospital but she is not badly hurt. She introduces herself as Alice, a young American stripper who has moved to London to escape a bad relationship. A year later Dan and Alice are living together, but he begins to stray from the relationship.

Other People

Dan writes and publishes a book based on his relationship with Alice. While being photographed for the cover, he meets Anna (Roberts), an American photographer who reveals that she has separated from her husband. Dan kisses Anna, but when she learns that he has a girlfriend, she refuses. Alice comes home but does not reveal to Dan that she heard his entire conversation with Anna via the intercom downstairs. Dan later logs into a sex chat room as a joke, disguised as a woman. There he meets Larry (Owen), a sex-addicted dermatologist. Dan comes onto Larry in the chat room and tells him that his name is Anna and to meet him at the aquarium. When Larry goes to the aquarium he runs into the real Anna by coincidence, and the two hit it off and begin to date.

Tangled Web

A year passes and Anna is married to Larry. Dan convinces her to become involved with him, and they have an affair. Alice has taken up stripping again and she meets the distraught Larry at the club, where she gives him a private dance. Larry tries to seduce Alice but she refuses, still hanging onto Dan despite his infatuation with Anna. As the movie progresses, the relationships become more tangled and more devastating to the four characters.


"Closer" received good reviews and grossed close to $34 million, according to Box Office Mojo. Peter Travers of "Rolling Stone" said it "vibrates with eroticism, bruising laughs and dynamite performances from four attractive actors doing decidedly unattractive things." Some critics who dismissed the film said the stage-to-screen transition was somewhat awkward. Owen and Portman won Golden Globes for their supporting roles and were nominated for Oscars for the same categories.

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