Monday, January 16, 2012

Getting Closer

The other day late at night while on vacation I saw the film Closer (2004) a story about relationships and sex and the way adults navigate them (starring Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts, and Clive Owen as the film's four protagonists).

I really, really enjoyed it. even while many of the plots, scenes, and themes I found quite unsettling, even disturbing. but I enjoyed it (I think) - besides the fantabulous acting and the superbly written screenplay (composed by the man who'd written the original piece for theatrical performance, Patrick Marber, a wise decision) - because the film in a way confirmed what I'd already come to assume:

When people grow closer, for all the pleasure of intimacy, something toxic springs up too.

Because, as we see in the film, even if you're meeting a stranger, you can form a connection. From that connection can come a friendship can come a relationship can come a romance. And from that romance, blooms an intimacy. And as part of that intimacy, each part exposes him- or herself (in more ways than one) and are vulnerable. And that is where the danger lies.

Because then, because they're so close, they want to be honest. But then they're too honest. So they see the need to deceive. But when deception's exposed, it harms, it hurts. And then there's sadness. And sadness causes pain. But after pain, there's acceptance (no matter whether or not folks stay together), and acceptance means growth. But as we saw earlier, just because it's growing doesn't mean it's good. It might be toxic.

And so watching that sort of toxicity on screen understandably fails to put viewers at ease. Closer functions more to leave viewers not happier, but wiser.
Which helps to explain I think why some reviewers (as with this one for the NYTimes) were put off by the film upon a first viewing.

So yeah: that's what I've come up with so far. You can expect a further thought-out review of the film Closer to come later sometime this week.

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