Laremy Legel March 26, 2010
Contrived and melodramatic.
There’s a recent trend in film that involves creating preposterous problems for the protagonist. The audience is evidently supposed to relate to these travails, only the issues presented are pure silly-talk. Which means you don’t connect with any of the characters. Which means you have a bad time. This is the world of Chloe.
Julianne Moore is a successful OB/GYN. She’s married to Liam Neeson, they have son, and they live in what appears to be a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Yes, it’s an idyllic life, and one we’d all aspire to have. But wait — Liam Neeson does like to flirt with anything wearing a skirt. And the son does shut momma Julianne out of his life on a near constant basis. All of a sudden, Moore’s life isn’t so great, is it? What will happen next?
Enter Amanda Seyfried, aptly named Chloe, as a captivating woman of the night. She can seduce anything that moves, she’s a long-haired flaxen tool of destruction. Moore meets her by chance and figures she’ll hire her to sleep with Neeson, to prove with finality whether he’s a cheating cad or not. I’m not sure whether this happens in real life or not, I suppose I’d like to imagine it does, but regardless it forms the central thrust of the narrative. Is Neeson a cheater? Is Julianne Moore’s life coming apart at the seams? Your engagement in the topic will be directly proportional to your enjoyment of the film itself. For me, not so much.
The one thing Chloe has going for it is the level of talent all of the actors bring to the table. Seyfried is a find as Chloe; she’s believable as a damaged youngster seeking approval through illegal means. Julianne Moore is also solid, as per normal. But the dialogue these fine actors are saddled with — mercy, it’s pure soap opera dramatics. At one point Moore gives a speech about Neeson’s handsomeness that feels pulled right out of 1950s gender politics. Moore does her best, but contrived and melodramatic scenes are her undoing. Even the fastest horse can’t run on water.
The themes of Chloe, marital isolation and infidelity, have been done far better, and in recent memory. Revolutionary Road crushes what it is to be in an unfulfilled relationship. The little seen Closer breaks down the divide and uncertainty behind being faithful to your partner. But Chloe? It largely doesn’t work. It looks pretty, the actors try their best, and we may have found a burgeoning star in Amanda Seyfried. Everything else presented here is worth nothing more than a few well-timed eye rolls. And even a cursory study of relationships will tell you eye rolling is all about contempt.
Categories: ReviewsTags: Amanda seyfried, Chloe, Julianne moore, Movie reviews