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|Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned…by another woman. Or so goes the subtext of Chloe,
director Atom Egoyan’s latest sexual thriller which features Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson and Amanda
Seyfried in a sort of kinky variation on John Schlesinger’s bisexual classic Sunday, Bloody Sunday in
which a man and woman share a male lover concurrently and the Kate Bush song “Babushka” in which
a woman thinks her husband is cheating and disguises herself to test him with dismaying results.
There are also many sexy elements from the Wachowki’s Bound which found Gina Gershon and
Jennifer Tilly unexpectedly ending up as lovers. The result is par for the course for Egoyan who has
been doing his best to turn on audiences since his 1994 breakthrough Exotica.
Egoyan doesn’t waste any time and brings out the lingerie immediately over the opening credits – the
fishnets and the lacy bra and garter belts – along with the red lipstick worn by Seyfried as Chloe, the
shapely, mysterious blonde goddess, a prostitute with a thing for fantasy. Suitably teased, Egoyan
gives us the plot (as adapted by Erin Cressida Watson from Anne Fontaine’s script for the French film
Nathalie). Moore plays Catherine, an uptight gynecologist who suspects her college professor
husband David (Neeson) is fooling around with one, or many, of his willing female students. The
couple, along with their sexed up teenage son Michael (Max Thieriot), live in one of those ultra
modern glass houses that filmmakers use to reflect the icy emotions kept prisoner within. Catherine,
by appearances, is apparently the only one who isn’t gettin’ any.
After a chance meeting with Chloe at a fancy restaurant populated by middle aged guys and their
comely escorts (a typical Egoyan conceit), Catherine hires Chloe to find out if her instincts are right.
“How do you do this?” the anxious Catherine asks the assured Chloe who answers confidently, “I try
to find something to love in everybody” which intrigues Catherine and soon, she finds herself
inexplicably drawn to the Lolita-like beauty only to find herself in over her head. And yes, that kiss
you’ve read so much about between the two leads to a sensual tryst that the L in LGBT moviegoers
will definitely appreciate.
All this, as expected, places us in typical Egoyan country exploring the sexual tensions and hidden
kinks of the lead characters. But in casting the luscious Seyfried (who expands her range from
Mamma Mia! and Dear John) as a sort of lesbian nymphet variation on the Glenn Close character in
Fatal Attraction – in itself a refreshing twist – and Moore as the older, experienced female, the script
touches on the rarely explored area of female eroticism from a woman’s point of view. And the script
also gives Moore – who gives her usual fearless performance – a great confessional monologue
about aging in a world of 23 year-old glamour pusses.
This perspective helps elevate Chloe from Egoyan’s usual sexy (but satisfying) thriller (as does a nice
last act twist) into something a tad more insightful – the filmmaker having discovered apparently that
a little female philosophy along with the fishnets never hurt anyone.
Turner Classic Movies is hosting their first ever film festival in Hollywood from April 22-25. To
celebrate, they’re hosting advance screenings of classic films throughout the country in a program
titled “Road to Hollywood.” Chicago’s legendary Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport) will screen
director Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 spy chase thriller North By Northwest on Tuesday, March 30 at
7:30pm as part of the tour. North By Northwest, one of Hitch’s most entertaining movies – arguably
his most entertaining period – finds Cary Grant as a Madison Avenue ad man mistaken for a spy who
soon finds himself outrunning both the authorities and a group of sophisticated baddies headed up
by James Mason and Martin Landau as his gay and rather deadly sycophantic Number Two. Eva Marie
Saint plays one of Hitchcock’s sexiest blondes who has an agenda all her own.
The witty, very sexy byplay between Grant – whose irresistible charm was undimmed by middle age –
and Saint who never looked more beautiful – is abetted by the sardonic Mason and his band of icy,
deadly henchmen who zip around New York, Chicago and Midwest hinterlands (site of Hitchcock’s
famed crop duster chasing Grant sequence), and end up crawling on the face of Mount Rushmore in
South Dakota. Ernest Lehman’s expertly paced script is matched by Hitchcock’s precision, Bernard
Herrmann’s exuberant score which sets the topsy-turvy tone of the picture (along with Saul Bass’s
geometric credit design). The movie is perfectly cast with expert, familiar supporting players in even
the tiniest of roles – Jessie Royce Landis as Grant’s acerbic mother, Leo G. Carroll as the government
boss, Doreen Lang as Grant’s secretary, Nora Marlowe as the housekeeper with the gun and
Josephine Hutchinson as the phony Mrs. Townsend, Maudie Pickett as Elsie the maid at the
Ambassador East, Patricia Cuts as the pretty lady with the glasses who comes on to Grant when he
sneaks through her hospital room, and on and on. It’s perhaps one of the movie’s most enduring
entertainments – as smart the 50th time as the first. TCM host Robert Osborne will host the evening
and star Eva Marie Saint will attend. Tickets are free (first come, first served) and can be downloaded