×

Chloe

Pic holds viewer interest for a while in, but then allows the plot to spin way over the top.

With:
Catherine Stewart - Julianne Moore David Stewart - Liam Neeson Chloe - Amanda Seyfried Michael Stewart - Max Thieriot Frank - R.H. Thomson Anna - Nina Dobrev

Sexual suspicion and game-playing spiral down from the exotically intriguing to outright silliness in “Chloe.” Director Atom Egoyan, who earlier in his career explored wayward sexuality with an insinuating exactitude, holds viewer interest for a while in this tale of marital stress, but then allows the plot to spin way over the top and, literally, out the window. Appealing cast and the whiff of the naughty will stir mild B.O. action.

Pic is based on Anne Fontaine’s 2003 French film “Nathalie,” in which Fanny Ardant and Gerard Depardieu starred as a couple whose marriage is pushed to the edge when the wife, suspicious her hubby is cheating, hires a prostitute (Emmanuelle Beart) to meet him and report back about what happened.

Same set-up applies here in the adaptation by Erin Cressida Wilson (“Secretary,” “Fur”), with Julianne Moore and Liam Neeson playing Catherine and David Stewart, who live a posh life in Toronto’s upscale Yorkville district. Based on slim evidence that David, a music professor quite popular with his female students, might be fooling around, Catherine encounters a pretty girl-about-town, Chloe (Amanda Seyfried), and pays her to learn whether or not her man is as susceptible as she believes to other women.

Chloe, it turns out, is a real pro, so good at what she does that Catherine quizzes her as to details, and for a while the audience can share her voyeuristic interest in learning some of her trade secrets. Before long, Chloe is explicitly describing heated encounters with David, and Catherine starts getting rather hot and bothered herself.

Simply stated, when Catherine starts losing control, so does the film. The sexual deceptions, experiments, lies and revelations from this point on are polymorphously perverse, as they used to say, but decreasingly credible, leading to a denouement both ludicrous from a dramatic p.o.v. and far too punitive morally for the most transgressive of the central figures. For whatever investment a viewer has left in the story by the climax, the finale blows it all to bits.

Along the way, Egoyan and lenser Paul Sarossy provide a sleek tour of relentlessly chic restaurants and hotels (at the Toronto Fest unspooling, the audience was getting a good laugh from the eminently recognizable locations, all seemingly within about a two-block radius of the venue in question), as well as the lead couple’s Architectural Digest-worthy house. More laughs stem from the fact that Catherine and David’s teenage son Michael (Max Thieriot) always happens to be around the house whenever something sexually convulsive is either happening or being discussed.

Thesps give it a truly earnest effort in a losing cause, and Moore and Seyfried both strip down repeatedly in the call of duty. Pic has the production polish of an expensive European import straight off the showroom floor.

Chloe

France - Canada

Production: A StudioCanal presentation of a Montecito Picture Co. presentation. (International sales: StudioCanal, Paris.) Produced by Ivan Reitman, Joe Medjuck, Jeffrey Clifford. Executive producers, Jason Reitman, Daniel Dubiecki, Thomas P. Pollock, Ronald Halpern, Olivier Courson. Co-producers, Simone Urdl, Jennifer Weiss. Directed by Atom Egoyan. Screenplay, Erin Cressida Wilson, based on the motion picture "Nathalie," directed by Anne Fontaine, screenplay by Philippe Blasbland, Fontaine, Jacques Fieschi, Francois-Olivier Rousseau.

Crew: Camera (Deluxe color), Paul Sarossy; editor, Susan Smith; music, Mychael Danna; production designer, Phillip Barker; art director, Kim M. McQuister; costume designer, Debra Hanson; sound (Dolby Digital), Bissa Scekic; sound designer, Steven Munro; second unit camera, J.P. Locherer; casting, Joanna Colbert, Richard Mento (U.S.), John Buchan, Jason Knight (Canada). Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Gala Presentations), Sept. 14, 2009. Running time: 96 MIN.

Cast: Catherine Stewart - Julianne Moore David Stewart - Liam Neeson Chloe - Amanda Seyfried Michael Stewart - Max Thieriot Frank - R.H. Thomson Anna - Nina Dobrev

More Scene

  • Oscars Ultimate Party Guide

    Oscar's Ultimate Party Guide 2019

    Welcome to Oscar week. It’s the time of year when Hollywood’s film industry celebrates all things movies. But it’s certainly not just the big show everyone is looking forward to. With voting closed, it’s all about the parties now. Who’s doing what and where and when are they doing it are the questions everyone is [...]

  • Yalitza AparicioTeen Vogue Young Hollywood Party,

    'Roma' Star Yalitza Aparicio, 'Central Park Five's' Jharrel Jerome Sound Off on Trump

    Yalitza Aparicio recently reunited with Alfonso Cuarón, who directed her in “Roma,” for a W magazine photo project that featured her standing at various barriers built at the border between Mexico and the United States. The message? “You can make a name for yourself despite the differences,” Aparicio told Variety on Friday at Teen Vogue’s Young [...]

  • Karl LagerfeldChanel Paris-Londres 2007/8 Show, London,

    Legendary Fashion Designer Karl Lagerfeld Dies at 85

    Karl Lagerfeld, the fashion icon – and iconoclast – who outfitted and photographed such stars as Nicole Kidman and Lady Gaga, has died. He was 85. Lagerfeld died in Paris, fashion house Chanel said. Although his health had been failing, he kept working up to his death, issuing instructions regarding Fendi’s fall ready-to-wear collection, which [...]

  • Eric Wareheim, 'The Simpsons' E.P. Matt

    Beefsteak Gathers Comedy Bigwigs for Meat and Mayhem

    The masterminds behind Beefsteak, a debauched tribute to the meaty arts that raises thousands for the Los Angeles Food Bank, switch things up each year so that guests are never bored. Organized by comedy players including Eric Wareheim, “The Simpsons” executive producer Matt Selman, and ABC Studios VP of comedy Cort Cass with Redbird chef Neal [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron71st Annual Writers Guild Awards,

    Alfonso Cuarón on Academy's 'Inevitable' Reversal on Televised Oscar Categories

    Alfonso Cuarón isn’t exactly surprised that the Academy reversed its decision and will now air all the Oscar categories during the live show on Sunday. Feb. 24. Calling the decision “inevitable,”Cuarón tells Variety that he thinks the Academy should take things even further. “Let’s stop calling them technical categories!” he told Variety on Sunday night [...]

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CA - February 16

    San Francisco Symphony Ushers in Chinese New Year With Glitzy Gala

    As legend has it: among the Chinese Zodiac’s 12 animals, the pig comes last because it was the final one to arrive to a party thrown by the Jade Emperor — lazy sauntering being a characteristic trait of the animal. The folktale was perhaps less fitting this past Saturday evening, as the San Francisco Symphony [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content