Adaptation of Patrick Marber's play, which, in its initial run, cast Clive Owen in the role played by Jude Law in the movie. There are only four speaking parts: these two men, Larry (a dermatologist: Owen) and Daniel (a failed novelist and obituary writer: Law); and two women, Alice/Jane (a stripper: Natalie Portman) and Anna (a photographer: Julia Roberts). One of the first things I heard about this film was that it featured "lots of fucked up fucking". In one sense, this is true; but you don't get to see any of it. The film essentially revolves around these four people, but all you get to see are their times of crisis when they're breaking up and hurting one another. The title Closer is ironic in the sense that the only times these people are close to one another are when you don't see them. Marber revealed in his Oxford lecture as Professor of Contemporary Drama that the title was in fact a last-minute afterthought, stolen from the eponymous Joy Division album. As it's based on a play, the film feels different from your usual Hollywood affair; but this is a good thing. Its long scenes of dialogue are gripping because, as in a David Mamet screenplay or play, this is where the drama happens. There is no plot; only the aftermath.
Nugget: don't expect any easy ride or to be filled with notions of romantic love. Maybe I haven't quite lived, but I can never imagine being this witty and cutting in a breakup. Maybe these scenes are a series of What I Wish I Had Said's. As Director Mike Nichols is on his fourth marriage, one can imagine why he may have wanted to make this film.