Closer is a movie released in 2004, directed by Mike Nichols. Starring Jude Law, Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman, and Clive Owen, it was one of the most successful films of that year, also granting two Golden Globe Awards to Clive Owen and Natalie Portman as supporting actors. The plot is full of twists and surprises, and the ending could look cryptic to someone, so people wonder what its meaning is and if Alice lied during the movie. Let’s reveal all answers explained.
You can watch the official trailer for Closer here on Youtube.
Closer movie plot explained: a quick recap
The plot of Closer spins around four characters: Alice (Natalie Portman), Daniel (Jude Law), Anna (Julia Roberts), and Larry (Clive Owen). Over four years, their lives intertwine in many ways. Let’s have Closer plot shorty explained: first, Daniel and Alice get together (Daniel will leave his previous girlfriend, Ruth, for her). Months later, Daniel meets Anna and falls in love with her, but he still stays with Alice. Anna meets Larry, the two start dating and will eventually get married. Some more months later, Daniel and Alice will be at Anna’s photographic exhibition, and Daniel will convince Anna to become his secret lover.
The affair between Daniel and Anna goes on for one year, then one night, simultaneously, Daniel confesses to Alice he’s in love with Anna, and Anna reveals to Larry she’s been seeing Dan for months. The two couples break up, and Anna and Daniel get together.
Months later, while Dan and Anna are happy together, Larry meets Alice by chance in New York. The two get connected and will have sex that night, then Larry returns to London. Anna needs him to sign the divorce papers, and he has an indecent proposal: he will sign the documents if she has sex with him one last time. Anna accepts the proposal, and that will break her balance: that same night, she confesses it to Daniel, who can’t forgive her. They will split, and soon enough, Anna will come back to Larry, canceling their divorce.
A few weeks later, a devastated Daniel visits Larry at his studio and asks him to leave Anna. Larry refuses, but he confesses that he met Alice some months later. He will provide Dan with Alice’s workplace and reveal that he had sex with her. Again, months later, we discover that Daniel and Alice are again together, ready to visit America, but Dan challenges her to reveal the truth about her sex night with Larry. Alice cannot stand that truth and leaves him, saying she no longer loves him. This brings us to the ending, through which the movie Closer has explained its true meaning. Let’s see it together.
The ending explained: did Alice lie? What’s the meaning of the movie?
When the movie comes to its ending, we see Anna and Larry still together, like a normal married couple. Daniel walks alone in London and enters Postman’s Park, where he and Alice went the first day he met. He makes a shocking discovery: he finds a tile with the name Alice Ayers written on it. Therefore, he understands that Alice gave him a fictitious name and maintained it over the four years of their relationship. We see her actual name in the passport when she enters the United States: she’s Jane Jones. That’s the way the movie Closer explained to us Alice/Jane told her true name to Larry the night they had sex, whereas she hid it for four years from Daniel (in one scene, she tells him that “nobody can see the photo in her passport,” but the truth is that she doesn’t want Daniel to discover that her name is not Alice).
This is how the movie Closer explained its real meaning: yes, Alice has lied to Daniel for years about her name. Every character, at some point, lies to their partners, and every time they confess the truth, life goes sideways, and the relationships break. This is the movie’s real point and what Closer is about: truth doesn’t bring people “closer.” It provides a clarification, it implies honesty, but it reveals hidden aspects of human instincts and flaws that cannot be easily understood inside a couple. Too often, we are unable to stand the truth. It also happens to Alice/Jane, the character who, more than others, loves truth: she can’t lie, but she can’t speak the truth about what she did, and that dissolves her love for Daniel instantly.
In the movie Closer, everybody needs love and sex, but their actions are often not coherent enough to keep their relationships. One detail would give you a better understanding of the movie’s meaning: the film is based on the play of the same name written by Patrick Marber and premiered in 1999, but the play ends differently. In the original play, Anna and Larry will also split again, proving that no relationship can last: human nature, so conflicted between feelings and instincts, doesn’t allow that. The only one who will have a successful relationship is the only person we don’t see in the movie: Ruth, Daniel’s first girlfriend, who will marry a poet she met after reading his poems. No one among Daniel, Alice/Jane, Anna and Larry seem to have a happy life: Alice/Jane will die in New York in a car accident, Daniel and Anna are alone, and Larry is dating someone else, probably for a short time. Truth didn’t help any of them to get closer to the people they loved.