Dressed in a sequined bodice, matching thong, and a glossy pink wig, Natalie Portman leans into Clive Owen and tells him a something real: “Lying is the most fun a girl can have without taking her clothes off…but, it’s better if you do.” It was in 2004’s Closer that this interaction between Natalie and Clive (aka Alice and Larry) became legendary. Not only does the exchange occur in a high-class strip club, but it also involves Miss. Natalie spreading her legs, thong, and vulva for Clive’s eyes only.
But, it’s those enigmatic words of hers that make you think about lying and getting naked. Essentially, the quote implies that a girl (fully-clothed) can have the utmost fun by being deceptive. However, if she tells stories of fiction AND removes her clothes, then that’s just another scoop of fun on top of an already towering sundae of delight. It promotes the themes of lying and disrobing – two things that are glorified in this movie, but are frowned upon in everyday life.
You annoyingly hear when you’re younger, “Liar, liar, pants on fire,” and from my own experience, “Your body is your temple.” Both are lines of persuasion that imply that telling the truth and keeping your body under wraps are the “correct” and “appropriate” thing to do. You can even look at it as society’s back-handed way to condition their youth to be upstanding citizens, conservative in nature – two things that are tested in Closer.
The movie becomes more bewitching as the mess becomes muddier, and we begin appreciate (and even encourage) the lying, the infidelity, and the overall concept of doing wrong for the sake of play. Does this mean that in our heart of hearts we all just want to be bad? Or is it like a car crash – you’re thankful you’re uninvolved, but you just can’t help but stare? Perhaps there’s something hypnotizing by watching others chronically fail, fuck each other over, and take off their clothes in the process. Or maybe it’s just about finding a happy medium between the two. What do YOU think my Juliland dolls? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so…comment, comment, comment!
I think being relentlessly “yourself” gets to be intolerable, because very few of us are able to lead lives where we are free to contain multitudes. The expectations of people around us tend to box us in until there isn’t room and so you lie and pretend to escape it for a few moments. In the case of Closer everyone takes on these roles that are unsustainable in their actual lives. It’s interesting that it so often expresses itself in sex actually. In bed you can be more dominant or more submissive or darker. You can express more variations of yourself by entering into fantasy than you can being tied down to your reality. In that sense the line means let’s take off our clothes and by “lying” pretend to be something that touches on something closer to our true natures.
Love it Ellen, thank you for your words!