Closer or Love is the Law

Ash Isaac


Oh, the pitfalls, perils and travails of being beautiful (BB).

It opens doors, it splits trousers, it unlocks chastity belts, but at what cost? Because, you see, being beautiful is tough. It’s a chore. Not in a Times Sudoku sort of way, but in a constant, interminable pushing-a-rock-up-a-hill way. It involves, but is not limited to, endless bed-hopping, endless heartbreaking and, mainly, endless discussions about the nature of BB, but only with other beautiful people. Oh, the humanity. They’re a bit like unicorns, these beautiful people, and I don’t mean in a Harry Potter ‘if you drink their blood it will make you immortal’ way, although I’m not sure if this has ever been tried. No, these modern day unicorns tend to stick to their own. They don’t like mingling with their non-horned brethren and positively balk at carnal relations with anyone who is also not a unicorn. That is not on. That is not what BB is about.

In Closer, Jude Law is perfectly cast as a vacuous, narcissistic and pretentious journalist and wannabe author. He goes out with a stripper who also happens to be Natalie Portman, a combination that came top on a lot of straight men’s Christmas wish list. Natalie, darling, you had me at hello, the stripper thing is just total overkill. They meet after Nat is involved in a road traffic accident. It’s implied she does this just to get Jude’s attention, which is probably not even close to the craziest thing someone has tried to do to get Jude Law’s attention. This is also one of the main BB principles: people will do just about anything if they believe there is even the slightest chance of contact with a beautiful person.

They start a relationship which involves vigorous, vigorous off-screen sex and tepid, tepid, on-screen conversations about sex, the universe, BB, love, BB and…you get the idea. This clearly isn’t enough for Jude who lusts after Julia Roberts’ aloof photographer and also finds time to indulge in a bit of cyber-sex with straight-laced doctor Clive Owen whilst pretending to be a (beautiful) woman.

This backfires on Jude as it leads to Clive meeting up with Julia and, to cut a short story even shorter, they shack up. But all is not well in Eden. It eventually transpires that Julia Roberts has also been knobbing Jude behind Clive’s back. Oh, Julia! Sweet, charming, vivacious star of Pretty Woman and Erin Brockovich. How could you? Well, quite easily it turns out as she proceeds to give an incredibly graphic account of all the vigorous, vigorous off-screen sex she has been having with Law. Nothing is spared – positions, rhythm, girth, technique, even the inevitable pillow talk about BB. Clive is heartbroken. He retires to that well-worn path of the shattered, desperate man. He goes to a strip club where, of course, he meets up with Nat. She treats him to a private booth, a dance, and yes, obviously between the notes slipped into G-strings and the £10 bottles of beer they discuss the nature of BB. They also indulge in some vigorous, vigorous off-screen sex at some point. Or at least it’s heavily implied. I’d be surprised if they didn’t.

The only surprise, really, is that Jude Law and Clive Owen don’t have sex. Goodness knows, there’s enough homoerotic tension between the two and, to be honest, it would fit neatly within the context of this film. Anyway, Julia and Clive get back together and Nat finally decides to dump Jude and go back to America to film Black Swan thereby permanently severing this love quadrangle/carousel. Everyone returns to their beautiful and unhappy existence. The only thing we ‘Muggles’ do discover is not to pine for BB. No, not for us a shallow, unfulfilling, vigorous sex and ennui-filled life. Not for us a never-ending trawl through the most vapid recesses of the human psyche. No, the one thing that a beautiful person is really looking for is to start a relationship with someone perfectly attuned to the whims and caprices of a BB. Themselves, basically. Moral of the story? Unicorns are extinct with good reason.

About Ash Isaac

I am a contributor of questionable taste, origin and talent. My one claim to fame is that I was born in the same hospital as Cliff Richard. I am still in possession of my soul unlike Sir Cliff who sold his to Samael the Desolate in return for eternal youth and the friendship of Sue Barker.