Combustible Celluloid
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With: Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried, Max Thieriot, R.H. Thomson, Nina Dobrev, Mishu Vellani, Julie Khaner, Laura DeCarteret, Natalie Lisinska, Tiffany Lyndall-Knight, Meghan Heffern, Arlene Duncan, Kathy Maloney, Rosalba Martinni
Written by: Erin Cressida Wilson, based on a screenplay by Anne Fontaine
Directed by: Atom Egoyan
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content including graphic dialogue, nudity and language
Running Time: 96
Date: 09/13/2009

Chloe (2010)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Sex Jive

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The Canada-based, Oscar-nominated director Atom Egoyan has plenty of experience with adult dramas about sex, including Exotica (1995) and Where the Truth Lies (2005), and his new Chloe -- which is a remake of the 2003 French film Nathalie -- comes with his usual brand of chilly intelligence and maturity.

Gynecologist Catherine Stewart (Julianne Moore) suspects her professor husband (Liam Neeson) of having an affair (or affairs) with his female students, so she hires a pretty young girl, Chloe (Amanda Seyfried), to seduce her husband and prove her suspicions. Chloe meets with Catherine to give her reports, and subtly tries to seduce the older woman and eventually succeeds. When Catherine subsequently rejects her, Chloe has sex with Catherine's teenage son Michael (Max Thieriot), as a way of "getting closer" to Catherine. Things grow dangerously out of hand as Chloe becomes more and more obsessed and unhinged.

The four characters behave and relate to one another in emotionally realistic ways, and the fatal lack of communication that leads to their troubles seems painfully genuine. Where the movie goes slightly wrong is in the thriller portion, wherein the Chloe character behaves more and more irrationally, out of love and/or obsession for Catherine. Her obsession turns homicidal, and the final act of the movie becomes an almost standard-issue Hollywood erotic thriller. Not to mention the odd coincidences that bring all these characters together. But overall, the strong characters and Egoyan's patient, thoughtful mood and pacing make it an above average effort.

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