Audiences were lured in by the sexy cast and the promise of some full-on raunchy behaviour. However, 2004's Closer is in fact a devastatingly downbeat examination of relationships and sexuality, less likely to leave couples in the mood than it is to leave them questioning the strength of their bond.
Plot-wise it's all a bit tricky to surmise, set as it is over the course of a number of years and following the complicated relationship of Jude Law's writer, Julia Roberts' photographer, Clive Owen's dermatologist and Natalie Portman's stripper, all of whom wind up in some sense cheating on one another, with one another. (What can we call a four-sided love triangle? A love square?)
While much has been made of the sexual frankness of Patrick Marber's script (adapted from his own stage play), this comes not from explicit representations of sexual activity, but from the often startlingly blunt dialogue.
While its affluent London high society setting may be alienating and off-putting for many of us, there's no denying that director Mike Nichols' film is handsomely photographed and very well acted; not for nothing did Clive Owen and Natalie Portman bag Golden Globes for their performances.
Even so, given its ruminations on romance and the nature of the sexual urge, it's certainly not go-to feelgood viewing for lovebirds.