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Re: Closer a film by Mike Nichols

From: blp
Category: Films
Date: 08 January 2005


I'm really disgusted at the casting of this film. I haven't seen it yet, but I'll wait until it's on TV. The play is good - a bit on the trendy side, but cleverly structured and feels accurate rather than prurient about relationship cruelty. I never saw it performed either, only read it, but there are two things about the people in it that the present casting misses:

1 They're ordinary people. There's absolutely no need for them to be super ultra good looking and, in fact, there's quite a powerful need for them to not be. I don't mean to be prejudiced against good looking actors - lord knows they have enough to contend with, poor souls - but it's just not plausible that every single person in a group of four is going to be perfect looking unless they're all models or actors, and the characters here aren't. It just seems really unimaginative to cast pretty people all the time. Bertolucci made a similar mistake casting Maria Schriever in Last Tango in Paris. It would have been so much better if Brando's sex partner had been someone as old and fucked up as him.

2. The characters in the play are English. God, I can't stress thsi enough. English English English. It's become a kind of joke that all English films now have to have a hot American starlet in the lead. This one has two. Playing people who were English in the play. The play is partly about Englishness, for fuck's sake. It's about lost Londoners with drab, stupid lives. That's what's good about it. As far as I can tell from the trailer, the actresses here haven't even tried to do English accents. Frankly, for Julia Roberts to take a role like this just represents unconscionable, unfettered greed. Yes, why does she have to be in everything, even things where her presence is totally inappropriate? Regardless of her technical skills, to take the wrong roles is bad acting. Same goes for every other miscast jerk in this film, with the possible exception of Clive Owen, though I'd still rather have seen someone less perfect looking. Why, why must filmmakers use their super powers for evil instead of good? David Bowie said it best: to be insulted by these fascists degrading.

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