Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You

I wanted to see “Closer” when it came out last fall, but even from just previews, I knew it hit too close to home.

I’m a Mike Nichols fan. “The Graduate” is amongst my all time favorites. And what guy doesn’t love Natalie Portman? Or, for that matter, Julia Roberts? But everything I read suggested that the characters were just too cruel to one other. Everyone who saw the film opening weekend said it as heart wrenching. My life, especially last fall, was heart wrenching enough. Why pay ten bucks to witness lies, infidelities, and cruelty? I’ve had my share of all the above.

I watched the film just now. I guess I figured that, a few months on, and in the privacy of my own home, I could take it. And I could. Well, I did. And it was heart wrenching. And there were lies, infidelities, and cruelty in large doses. And it did hit close to home.

What is it about love, about attraction, that makes us so reckless? So falable? Was that Mike Nichols point? I’ve been in those reckless moments, where you knew you were throwing everything away for something fleeting. Why, then, do we? Hubris? Averice? Desperation? Need?

Love is a funny thing. Relationships are a messy proposition. I have tried so hard in my life to love and be loved. I have tried so many times to make relationships work. And I have blundered over and over again.

I’m not sure, now, what to make of the film, or, for that matter, of love. I was watching closely. I was listening carefully. And I think I might have caught a little something. Love is not about proximity or attraction. It’s not about bodies, or want or need. It’s about honesty. It’s about vulnerability. It’s about being close in some other, less tangiable way.

“Tell me the truth,” Dan says to Jane.


“Because otherwise we’re just animals.”

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