Monday, March 29, 2010

She'll fulfill your dreams ... for a price

Although nothing new is featured in “Chloe,” the latest entry in the sexual thriller genre, it is stylish, fascinating and shocking.
Amanda Seyfried stars as the titular character, a prostitute who is hired by a woman named Catherine Stewart (Julianne Moore) who suspects her husband of cheating.
Chloe is instructed to tempt the woman’s husband, played by Liam Neeson and then report to the wife about their activities together. At first it is unclear whether Stewart’s intention is to discover whether Neeson will respond to Chloe’s affections or if she wants to hear the specifics of the sexual encounter for another reason, but her decision to hire Chloe sends a major jolt through their marriage.
The two female leads are puzzling and interesting characters. Moore is a woman who is in a dry period both romantically and sexually. She’s a gynecologist who when describing to one of her patients what an orgasm is, says it’s just a series of muscle contractions and is nothing magical. She isn’t sure how she got to this passionless place or how to get out. She is certain she wants to rediscover her passion and Chloe helps awaken this realization and expedite the process.
The actresses are both excellent in their roles and well cast. Moore is sultry as a woman experiencing a midlife crisis brought on by her suspicions of infidelity. Her feelings of inadequacy are perhaps unfounded, since Moore, at 49, is an impressively alluring woman. At times the movie is not so much an exploration of marital dissatisfaction as a celebration of the feminine mystique.
In keeping with this theme, details of feminine appeal are emphasized throughout the film. Moore applies lipstick as the camera focuses on her parted lips. During one encounter with Chloe, she pauses after getting a waft of the scent of her perfume. She asks Chloe what it is and she then rubs some on her hand. Scenes of Moore running across the street wearing high-heeled shoes provides a view of her shapely calves, giving a subtle hint of sex in an everyday situation.
Chloe wears clothing with an accent on the material and how it feels. Her outfits are often of fur or of a lightweight fabric which flows breezily against her skin. In the bedroom scenes Chloe is shown in a tasteful fashion and images of her body are revealed in brief glances, the way a partner might undress herself in a tender moment.
“Chloe” is a fascinating exploration of the pleasures and pratfalls of human sexuality and is satisfying in every way.

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