- Tom Dawson
- 4 March 2010
Does this sound familiar? A middle-aged gynaecologist Catherine (Julianne Moore), worried that she may no longer be desirable to her flirtatious music professor husband David (Liam Neeson), decides to pay a prostitute Chloe (Amanda Seyfried) to test his fidelity. Yes Chloe is based on Anne Fontaine’s French drama Nathalie, which paired Fanny Ardant and Emmanuelle Beart alongside Gerard Depardieu. Screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson (Secretary, Fur) and director Atom Egoyan (unusually not working from his own script), have relocated the tale to a wintry, upscale Toronto, amplified the role of the couple’s teenage son (Max Thieriot), and have, in the second half, squandered dramatic and psychological credibility by veering into erotic thriller territory.
Despite the title and the initial voiceover, the principal character turns out to be Moore’s Catherine, fearing her own ‘invisibility’ as a middle-aged woman in a culture fixated on youthful beauty and accustomed to paying for problems to be solved. You can see why Egoyan was attracted to the ideas around marital mistrust, emotional deception and voyeurism in the source material, but the opulent settings (particularly Catherine and David’s spectacular designer home) and the endless mirror images prove distracting, and the cast deserved better than the ludicrous denouement.
Selected release from Fri 5 Mar