Closer, told in skips over a period of four years, is an anti-date movie if ever there was one … or is it? Four people (Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Clive Owen and Natalie Portman) get their hearts repeatedly pulled through the wringer in this film, and if you’ve ever experienced the horrors of love gone awry, you’ll feel every cut.

Painful, uncomfortable honesty runs wild, and all four characters take trips to hell. And yet there’s a strange affirmation of the notion that there is more to adult love than a ring, a house, a joint checking account and other tangible but vapid milestones.

“Closer” began life as a play, and Closer the film is still a play: Pretty much every scene consists of two of the four actors squaring off, and for Owen and Portman especially, it’s a generous showcase for their considerable talents. Very highly recommended.

Extra: Music video.

DVD Grade: A+

© 2005, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services. Closer is currently available.