Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Closer struggles formidably to come up with something to say about modern-day relationships, but all you're left with is the struggle.
It's written and filmed with great intelligence, and performed fearlessly.
It's a pleasure to see material this intelligent, a cast this inspired -- and Nichols in his Carnal Knowledge prime, operating with cold, silky expertise.
Ebert & Roeper:
One of the most viciously insightful relationship films this side of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Closer, a lacerating four-character suite on the elusiveness of love and intimacy, finds Nichols returning to his roots without having lost his sardonic edge.
Next to Closer, most on-screen relationships seem too neat and polite, with tears shed only for effect, and feelings bruised but never really damaged.
In Closer, a searing drama that dares speak the truth about modern adult relationships, it's hard to distinguish between sincere emotion and manipulation, between true caring and heartless self-interest.
Paul Clinton (CNN.com),
It has a lot to say about the human condition and what we're willing to go through in order to find and keep love.
Its meditation on power may not be everyone's cup of tea. But for those who prefer Earl Grey to camomile it works a dark magic.
It does shock, I should say, in the way of men and women doing their psychological worst and most ruthless to push away those they have previously pulled close.
Dallas Morning News:
With crackling dialogue, Closer reaches out and grabs all but the most reluctant viewer. Some spectators will be bored, but more will be shaken and stirred.
Bad Pinter meets bad Updike, dancing to the rat-a-tat rhythms of an ER episode.
[A] chilly, caustic, foul-mouthed anatomy of modern romance.
It's not emotional closeness these connection junkies want. It's merely to close the deal and seal another conquest.
New York Times:
In spite of the teasing promise of its title, Mike Nichols's deft drama does everything it can to push you away.
This smart and unsettling new Mike Nichols relationship drama follows two couples through the back alleys of love and commitment, with tour guides who don't seem to grasp what those words mean.
There's a creepy fascination in the way these four characters stage their affairs while occupying impeccable lifestyles.
Feels so remote that it renders itself inconsequential.
I have to confess: I love it when big movie stars talk dirty.
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
There's not an American filmmaker who better understands the scheming perversity and self-deception lurking beneath our passions.
There are moments in Closer when the truth not only hurts, it claws the skin away.
Owen and Portman give excellent, committed performances, leaving Law and Roberts in the shade.
Closer offers a bleak though thought-provoking take on relationships. The challenge for the viewer is in caring enough to become invested in characters who seem hellbent on hurting one another.
Like dramas by Pinter and others, what seems trenchant and perfectly pitched in the theater can come off as arch even when skillfully transferred to film.
More than three decades after the frank sex-talk of Nichols's early triumphs, Closer offers only a cozy and barely fashionable cynicism.
Sure, there's a rubber-necky attraction to watching these good-looking, half-baked creations living anguished, photogenic lifestyles. But it's unclear if we're supposed to feel engaged.