Chloe

by Melissa Silverstein on March 26, 2010

in Reviews,Women Writers

When you strip it down, Chloe is really about women and aging and the different value placed on men and women as they age.  The film written by Erin Cressida Wilson based on the French film Natalie and directed by Atom Egoyan, tells the story of Catherine (Julianne Moore), a gynecologist who is of the age where women notice that they aren’t being noticed anymore.  She beings to doubt herself, her sexuality, and her long term marriage to David (Liam Neeson), a professor who has young women throwing themselves at him daily.

So she decides to assess his fidelity and hires Chloe (Amanda Seyfried), a young, gorgeous woman equally unsure of her footing in the world to test David.  Turns out that it is Catherine who fails the test when she becomes embroiled with Chloe and that adds up to a whole mess of actions with devastating consequences.

Cressida Wilson writes one of the best monologues I have seen about how women start to become invisible as the age while men become more desirable.  It was hands down the best scene in the film and Julianne Moore nailed it.

Chloe opens nationwide today.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Panty Buns March 26, 2010 at 11:26 AM

After having read your interview with Erin Cressida Wilson and now your review of the movie Chloe itself, I will definitely go see it in the movie theatre as soon as it is playing some place close by.

Anemone March 26, 2010 at 8:21 PM

This is hugely triggering for me. The story not only glosses over prostitution (as far as I can tell), but it also prostitutes the talent to some degree (I do not want to know how much), all for the sake of a story that could probably be told in a different way. I realize that the original film was co-written and directed by a woman, and this version was written by a woman, but the film itself comes across as sleazy exploitation.

It’s nice that the lead female gets to make that speech. (It would be even better if she didn’t need to.) But this is not a step in the direction of equality. As long as actors are exploited sexually on-camera (which they are when sexualized content is part of the job description), women will always be second-class citizens behind the camera, because discrimination is discrimination. People who look down on some people tend to look down on lots of others, too, and women will never win that fight.

I realize that no one really wants to talk about media content: there is somehow the hope that if enough women get behind the camera the content will improve (though there is no evidence that I know of to support this assumption at this time). But as long as it’s ok to exploit people (disproportionately women) on-camera, women will never be all that welcome behind the camera. It’s a hostile environment.

If you want equality for women in Hollywood, you need to look at all aspects of inequality at the same time, or it won’t work. I’m really disappointed that people like you, Melissa, keep dodging this issue. Exploitation and depersonalization just do not go hand in hand with equality. They weed it out.

Chris Evans March 26, 2010 at 10:35 PM

Just saw the film, Amanda Seyfried completely blew me away. I thought she was brilliant.

Melissa Silverstein March 29, 2010 at 9:12 AM

I’m sorry that this triggered you. It is a very complicated movie and one that maybe you should skip. I do want to talk about media content but I also feel that we need to talk about what is out there and not just dismiss or ignore it. It is not easy to call attention to these issues. I know I don;t always get it right, and also we all might see the same film a bit differently. But I try. That’s the best I can do.

Eddie Vanfossen October 18, 2011 at 12:30 AM

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