Tuesday, April 05, 2005


(Dir Mike Nichols, with Natalie Portman (Alice/Jane), Julia Roberts (Anna), Jude Law (Dan) and Clive Owens (Larry))

I don't have a lot to say about this movie, as it left me largely un-moved by the shenanigans of the characters. First no-one is together, then "Alice" and Dan get together as do Anna and Larry. There is a small amount of humour in how Larry and Anna meet - Dan is on the interweb in some chatroom, pretending to be Anna and gets into some pretty puerile sex talk with Larry. They agree to meet at the Aquarium, which it just so happens is where Anna is sitting. So, some interesting play with identity - Larry is full of references from his sex talk and Anna, of course, has no idea what he's talking about.

But then Dan "loves" Anna, so of course they have to get together, and damn the consequences. Not that I cared for either Larry, who was pretty much a jerk, or Anna. In only a couple of scenes could I summon up any affection for Dan - right near the end, he seemed like a decent enough fellow for a bit, but then he turned out to not be. At least he could recognise that his need to know, his need to have the truth, made him an idiot - I could admire him for that, but then he couldn't handle the truth (if, in fact, it was given to him - I rather suspect he was not).

Which brings me to the only character I could feel anything for. "Alice" turns up in London (ex USA) as a waif on an expedition. She meets Dan thanks to a small car accident - it was kind of cute, the way he went with her to the hospital, stayed with her, then when it came time to part, he did so formally, only to wheel around and come back for her. She loves him, perhaps needily. Once Dan goes after Anna, "Alice" returns to her former work as a stripper. The best scene, not because of her near nudity but because of the way she played it, was in the strip bar - Larry has come in for a bit of fun, recognises her and wants to break through her professional mask, get her to tell him something "real". She insists her name is Jane, but never drops the mask: since Larry knows her as Alice, it never occurs to him that that might have been the mask and that this is the truth. So, she keeps saying she is Jane, he keeps throwing money at her and shows he really isn't a pleasant fellow at all.

On the whole, pretty pedestrian.


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