I don’t think I am capable of explaining in mere words exactly what “elegance in film-making” means. Atom Egoyan’s film Chloe puts that task just beyond my reach. There are moments that take my breath away. There are moments that grip my heart. There are moments that are so openly, maturely erotic that I find myself aroused in a way that I have not recently expected to be aroused. And there are moments where the unexpected pain of being human and loving another and then suddenly finding yourself alone in an empty room is so clearly articulated as to change the very way I relate to others.
At the core of most of these moments is Julianne Moore. She plays Catherine Stewart, an OB-GYN living a very successful life, who suspects that her husband is being unfaithful. She hires a very attractive and young call girl named Chloe, played by Amanda Seyfried, to tempt her husband in order to find out if he is inclined toward wandering. She knows he is inclined toward flirting, but she wants to find out if he would act on what seems to be the proposal in his behavior.
By no means is this how an average person would react. But imagine for a minute that you have plenty of money, have been married for sixteen years, your husband is Liam Neeson and your sex life has been dwindling over the last five years or so. And you also have a seventeen year old son who is angry at you all the time but appears to be exploring his own sexuality with more freedom and innocent joy than you would ever allow yourself.
But Moore’s performance has such a serious edge of truth to it; she bends her anguish to the service of her rationality and need to be fair, she steps off the precipice and into the free fall of passion that she has denied herself for so long and she does it all with such intelligence and determination that you are willing to follow her, grateful to have been graced by her presence.
She is the source of the elegance. Egoyan’s script, his camera, the music and his editing recognize that, embrace it and celebrate it.
Chloe is currently showing at the Downer Theatre. For tickets and showtimes, click here.