Julianne Moore stars in "Chloe"

Atom Egoyan’s new film “Chloe” is a tale of sexual obsession, a sort of thinking person’s “Fatal Attraction” with Julianne Moore in the Michael Douglas role…well sort of.  While “Fatal Attraction” (1987) dealt with a married man’s consequences for his infidelity “Chloe” takes a different slant.  The story deals with a woman’s investigation into her husband’s private life after she finds a picture of him with one of his female students.  The event occurs after the husband returns home late from a business trip claiming to have missed his plane.

Moore plays Catherine Stewart a successful gynecologist married to college professor David Stewart (Liam Neeson).  They live in a well appointed, modern but sterile looking home in Toronto which they share with their rude, sullen, teenaged, musical prodigy son Michael (Max Thieriot).

Catherine is certain of David’s infidelity, eschewing the usual “will the husband be caught or not” suspense gymnastics of this type of story.  Instead the conflict is about Catherine’s need to learn what David finds in, and how he behaves with, other women.  To that end she hires the titular Chloe (Amanda Seyfried) a high class prostitute.  Catherine instructs Chloe to casually “meet” David and report back to her on what transpires.

So, we have a suspicious gynecologist, a call girl and an aloof husband. The film’s moodiness draws us into what is, for first two acts and part of the third, an intriguing story.  However, like a lot of movies, there is trouble in the third act.  “Chloe” ultimately opts for a “by the numbers,” deus ex machina, standard issue, “out of nowhere,” “huh!” type of conclusion.

The acting is very good.  Neeson is not given much to do except be hang-dog and brooding, a part at which he, as always, excels.  The two ladies, in contrast, do burn up the screen.   One has to wish that with all this going for it “Chloe” might have delivered a more satisfying climax (pun intended).

Chloe, Director Atom Egoyan, 2010,

Sony Pictures Classics,  96 minutes, R


About unpaidfilmcritic

Up until 2009 Seth Shire spent nearly two decades in the New York film industry as a post production supervisor of feature films. Highlights include working on the films of Martin Scorsese, James Toback and Spike Lee. Since leaving the film industry Seth has expanded into new and varied areas where he has found a great deal of satisfaction. Seth currently teaches in the Sociology Department of CUNY Queens College. His courses include "Mass Media and Popular Culture," "Introduction to Sociology," and "Sociology of Cinema" where he is a very popular teacher. Seth is also the film critic for "Town & Village," a Manhattan weekly newspaper, a position he has held for the past six years. Seth gives back to his community through volunteer teaching at Manhattan's "The Caring Community," a center for senior citizens, where he teaches a very popular course on documentaries called "The Golden Age of the Documentary. In the fall of 2010 Seth taught "Critical Reading and Writing" at Parsons School of Design. He has also taught "Cinema Studies" at the New York Film Academy. Seth lives in Stuyvesant Town, in Manhattan.

Posted on April 5, 2010, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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