Closer ★★★½

"Why isn't love enough?" ~ Alice

Here's a story as simple as boy meets girl. Boy falls for girl. Boy meets other girl. Boy falls for other girl but she initially dismisses him. Boy lures other boy to meet other girl. Other boy falls for other girl. Other girl marries other boy but keeps boy on the side. "Why isn't love enough?" asks girl. Other girl wants to leave other boy. Boy thinks he's home free with other girl and dumps girl. Other boy has some ideas of his own. "I'm a caveman," other boy admits. Girl meets other boy. Other girl decides to stay with other boy. Boy has a confrontation with other boy. Boy meets girl again. Boy, girl, other girl and other boy all live happily ever ... no ... not on your life. This is one screwed up and mesmerizing set of relationships without a Hollywood ending.

Set in London, the key characters in this mixed up foursome are Dan the writer (Jude Law), Alice the American stripper (Natalie Portman), Anna the American photographer (Julia Roberts) and Larry the dermatologist (Clive Owen). It kind of begs the question, why can't we be content with the good fortune we've found? But there's more to it, of course ... a hot mess of emotions. All four actors are at the top of their game here, with Portman and Owen both winning Golden Globes and getting Oscar nominations for their supporting roles. It's a Michael Nichols film adapted from a Patrick Marber stage play that's well worth watching.

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