Movie Review: Chloe (2010)

Amanda Seyfried and Julianne Moore in Chloe

Photo: Sony Pictures Classics

I am not very familiar with Atom Egoyan’s work, but perhaps outside of creating a larger understanding of just what exactly he meant with the final shot of Chloe I can safely say this film mines the depths of human stupidity to the point it assumes the audience is just as dumb as its characters.

The story follows Catherine and David Stewart (Moore and Liam Neeson). Both are successful professionals, she’s a gynecologist with her own practice and he’s a college professor. They have a son (Max Thieriot) who’s lashing out against his mother and finding common ground with his father. For the most part they seem like a happy upper class family with all the usual problems. However, when Catherine begins to think David is cheating on her, his every move makes her more and more suspicious until a chance meeting with Chloe (Amanda Seyfried), a prostitute she meets in a restaurant bathroom, gives her an idea. Catherine does what most every woman in this situation would do, she hires a hooker to hit on her husband to see what he will do.

Okay, perhaps all women wouldn’t do that. Perhaps most women would confront the man and ask him flat out if he is cheating on them or perhaps even accuse him with just a sliver of evidence. In Catherine’s defense, David does insist on flirting with every 20-something that strolls his way, but that’s hardly reason to believe he’s cheating as much as it means he’s simply an inconsiderate asshole. However, once Chloe reports back with details straight out of Penthouse Forum I can no longer defend Catherine’s actions as people as stupid as she is deserve everything coming to them, then again, perhaps that’s exactly what Catherine got. After all, she had already been watching Chloe from afar, a plot point that is no more witty as it is just one more tangent of stupid protruding out of this tomato.

At a mere 99 minutes, Chloe feels like it takes an eternity. Moore sulks about, ashamed of her aging body, however late in the film we feast at a flesh buffet with her full body on display and Moore, at the age of 49, looks better than you could imagine. It’s at this point the film goes from being a dramatic thriller — the word “thriller” being used very lightly — to a 2 AM Cinemax soft-core porn. The goal here was lost on me, unless Egoyan was intent on showing how upper crust rich folk invent their own problems instead of dealing with the same issues the rest of the world faces. Boo hoo, for them.

I will admit Moore pulls off the role of an insecure and gullible moron to perfection. Unfortunately, the plotline asking me to believe someone would be this dumb is not so convincing. Seyfried as the titular Chloe is about as convincing as an amateur actress could be given the role, a statement you will understand further should you ever decide to watch this film. To that point you will realize I’m not insulting Seyfried’s performance as much as pointing out the flaws in the character as written by Erin Cressida Wilson, whom adapted this film from Anne Fontaine’s 2003 French film Nathalie…, a film of which I now have no interest in watching ever.

So often throughout Chloe the obvious is right in front of the character’s eyes, but you have to act like you don’t see it if you wish to remain engaged in the story. And even if you fool yourself into thinking one thing and not the other I can’t imagine you being impressed by the end result. More likely you’ll be more furious than the rest of us who caught on from the opening moments and were just waiting for it all to end.



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