April 15, 2010

Big, Big Love For Amanda Seyfried

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Chloe is a twisted romance that deals with an unlikely love triangle. Dr. Catherine Stewart (Julianne Moore) is a Toronto based gynecologist who had an attractive music professor husband, David (Liam Neeson). Catherine is painfully aware of her fading looks, and does her best to keep David aware of her devotion, throwing  him a birthday party following a lecture he is giving in New York. After he conveniently “misses” his plane, embarrassing Catherine in front of her friends at his surprise party, she becomes slightly suspicious about his trip to New York.  A chance glance at his cell phone reveals a message from a student, Miranda, signed with a telling “X” and including a cozy picture of her husband with a young student. A dinner between the Stewarts and another couple, following this discovery, leads Catherine to a chance meeting with Chloe (Amanda Seyfried), a beautiful young girl, who is sobbing in the bathroom over what jerks men are — a sentiment Catherine can relate to. Catherine figures out that Chloe is a hooker and later arranges a clandestine meeting between the two at a bar.  Catherine offers Chloe full payment to go sit in a café that her husband frequents and pose as a student, to see what happens if she flirts with him. When she agrees, Catherine’s plan to catch her husband is set in motion.  Chloe goes to the café  and casually greets David. Nothing happens other than a few telling glances. Despite Catherine saying this is a one-time deal, she sends Chloe to the café yet again to see what will happen if she goes once more.  Meanwhile, at home, Catherine is dealing with watching her estranged teenage son, Michael (Max Thieriot), explore his sexuality. He brings his sexed-up girlfriend home, and doesn’t think twice about having her sleep over and walk through his parent’s house in his button down and underwear. Like her husband’s sexuality, Catherine has no control over Michael’s sexuality. To make matters worse — Michael assures Catherine that David knows about his girlfriend sleeping over. The sexual freedom of the men in her life is rattling Catherine.  Catherine meets with Chloe to hear the details of her latest tryst with her husband — which Chloe tells her in the most explicit details. Catherine seems to take masochistic pleasure in these stories — particularly as they are the closest thing to sexual activity she has had in a long time, as she and her husband share nothing intimate — not even the menial details of their days.  Chloe’s paid love affair with David continues to develop, with David completely oblivious to Catherine’s involvement, while a love triangle formulates as Chloe starts to fall for Catherine, which eventually develops into a near obsession with the whole family.  The acting in the film is strong. Amanda Seyfried uses her physical characteristics to play an obsessive but doe-eyed escort to a tee. Her eyes are hauntingly gorgeous and tempt the entire Stewart family. She has an innocence about her, wrapped up in overt sexuality, a difficult thing to balance but she hits it on the mark.  Moore, despite her actual graceful aging, captures the sentiment that women in Western culture struggle with daily — that they are never young enough. Catherine’s obsessions — with Chloe (an obsession that her friends incorrectly identify as a clandestine affair for her and not a calculated affair between her philandering husband and his hooker) and her husband’s infidelity — are communicated expertly between Moore’s perpetually pursed lips.  Neeson, who dealt with his wife Natasha Richardson’s unexpected death in the midst of filming, has been criticized for his acting in the film for seeming empty, but this seems appropriate for his character. David is also dealing with getting older — watching his teenage son’s sexuality blossom right before him and trying to combat his aging with young students who admire his graceful aging and his intelligence. None of these affairs are particularly fulfilling and his home life offers no fulfillment either. This lack of fulfillment is not merely in Catherine’s own lack of fulfillment, but in the actual structure of their home, which is eerily more or less a glass box.Overall the film captures the obsessions and struggles in the story with expert precision. There is an eerie ability of the camera and the director to capture these sentiments at a perfect rate that keeps moviegoers on edge in this erotic thriller.

4 Towers

Original Author: Cara Sprunk