Closer
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Closer

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  2,522 ratings  ·  80 reviews
In Closer, Patrick Marber has created a brilliant exploration into the brutal anatomy of modern romance, where a quartet of strangers meet, fall in love, and become caught up in a web of sexual desire and betrayal. Closer is being hailed as one of the best new plays of the nineties, and as the London Observer noted, it "has wired itself into the cultural vocabulary in a wa...more
Paperback, 120 pages
Published December 1st 1999 by Grove Press (first published November 3rd 1997)
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Angels in America by Tony KushnerAugust by Tracy LettsArcadia by Tom StoppardThe Pillowman by Martin McDonaghThe History Boys by Alan Bennett
Best Plays Since 1990
12th out of 124 books — 76 voters
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Best Plays Ever
112th out of 512 books — 655 voters


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Community Reviews

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Melanie
'Our flesh is ferocious/our bodies will kill us/ our bones will outlive us'

Having seen the film a few times now it is hard not to draw comparison, but this, the original creation by Patrick Marber is darker again, the lovers infinitely more fascinating and yet just as unlikeable.

There is an elegance & complexity not achieved by the film. I was surprised at the very different 'ending' but some of the clunky transitions in the film now make sense.

To summarise - I like the bite, I hate the cy...more
Veronica
Closer by Patrick Marber examines the complex relationships between four persons within the course of four years. There is Dan the writer who is a sensitive and selfish fellow with his head in the clouds, Anna the photographer who is blissfully depressed and keeps making the wrong choices in life based on such, Larry the dermatologist who is aggressive and a bit chauvinistic, and Alice the stripper, a free spirit who puts up a wall of sarcasm and biting wit to hide the fact that she longs for lo...more
Cheri
I just didn't enjoy this. It's about nothing and some of the dialogue is really awful. No one speaks like a real person. I don't mind stylized dialogue when it fits the piece or is just plain brilliant, but this sounds like the playwright was tying to make clever, witty dialogue and instead has a bunch of people talking to each other in mannered, false ways.

The major conceit of one man getting the other off over the internet just seemed boring, (Really? You can't trust the sexy blond woman in t...more
Beth
Closer talks a lot, but it doesn't actually say anything.

Marber is good at acting like he does. The characters are witty, the situations they get themselves into are mind-bending in an interesting way, and the dialogue is well-written, staccato and blunt in a way that must have felt challenging and 'edgy' in the 1990s. Here, to me, it just felt like the eleven-year-old who thinks he's hard core because he uses the F-word.

The characters are insufferable. But they're supposed to be insufferable. T...more
Blake
Marber writes dialogue that is quirky and quoteworthy, but the criticism of this play is that it is too clinical and empty of emotion. It's history on the stage contradicts this sharply. Theatre-goers have at times broken down in tears from the play's portrayal of infidelities. The actors taking part have at times found it to be even a cathartic experience.

In performance, the settings are evoked rather than shown, to balance the verbal excess. Considering the sparse appearance of the dialogue, i...more
Tara
Aug 11, 2008 Tara rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: play-lovers
Shelves: read-in-08, plays
I'm a sucker for a good play. And honestly, what's not to love about 4 people showing the world just how messy relationships can be when you always give into selfish desires, only to torture yourself with the consequences thereafter?

I actually fell completely, madly in love with the movie first. Obviously, the play features some scenes cut from the film, and an altogether different ending. Marber's got a way with words and his snarky British-isms, especially those spoken by Larry, are oh so ente...more
Gretchen Adkins
This play was surprisingly amazing. It is set in the 1990's but if the play had been written this very day in 2011 it would be exactly the same play. Very UK English language and slang and modern vulgarity come together to create a very sexual story about how four people's lives come together and drift apart. Just a warning, there is an immense amount of vulgarity and sex talk, but once you get past it's roughness you see that it really was essential in shaping this show to the wonderful thing t...more
Ceilidh
Very much a play of its time (especially the rise of the In-Yer-Face theatrical movement of the 90s) but still fresh and interesting today. Veering between witty and heartbreaking, Closer analyses the human relationships and how something so intimate and beautiful as sex and love can ultimately be as destructive and painful as hate. I'm amazed by Marber's ability to create such well rounded and ultimately sympathetic characters who are so loathsome, selfish and frequently vulgar (the profanities...more
Lillian
Well I saw the movie prior to reading the play, which was unfortunate b/c I kept seeing Julia Roberts and Natalie Portman playing out the roles. Unfortunate b/c I enjoy inventing how the characters look and sound in my head. This play is an exploration of the negative side of attachment and love, and how we lie to one another almost out of compulsion, and how we really do not know what's best for us. We fall in love w/ our illusive understanding of the reality of a person, and then we wind up d...more
Inga
I think this book is amazing. Forget about the sex, it's about a girl wanting to be loved. She'd always leave, so no one leaves her. And the one that says he won't leave - cheats on her. When she spoke the truth, no one believed her. It's not complicated. She needed someone to be there for her. Was it too much? It is something we all search for. She just wasn't lucky enough to get it.
Kellista
I am in love with this play. I read it years before the movie came out and while I think the film did a good job of capturing the essence of the play, it wasn't quite the same for me. Marber's characters are so real, so honest that you feel as if you're really listening in on someone's life; their conversations. He's a brilliant writer and I can't get enough of this piece.
Ashley Woods
My first experience with Closer was in college, when I watched two of my classmates perform the Anna/Alice scene for an acting class. I was intrigued by the characters, however I secretly lamented the fact that it is was just another scene where two women fight over the same man.

I picked up the book again this past year, and I discovered that I couldn't have been more wrong. Closer is a confusing, shocking, heart-breaking play with complex and flawed characters.

The ups and downs of this play a...more
Aslı Bildirici
It was beautiful. Relationships are never black & white. Sometimes we forget because, most the movies we watch and books we read like to show the world as a perfect place. It is refreshing to read something as real as Closer, and a little bit heart-breaking ,ofcourse, for a girl who is used to those movies & books.
Mark Roche
Read the whole book with the exception of the first Scene in one night. Five out of five for sure!
Allison
The first time I saw this movie I admittedly was not the biggest fan. This is slightly embarrassing to admit, but the reason I decided to check out the play is because I was interested in reading the screenplay for the movie since, in fact, some of the bands I've liked recently have made use of some of the play/movie's memorable lines (eg. Lying is the most fun a girl can have without taking her clothes off... But it's better if you do [Panic! At The Disco:]). Another impetus for me was a few qu...more
Niloo Ravaei
what a poingant, surprising, tragic story. i was really moved by it, and definitely enjoyed reading it. the dialogue is so well done, and the play manages to keep a sense of levity and comedy while dealing with exceedingly dark themes and sad characters. what i most enjoyed about this play was the way it built up seamless, without me even realizing it to a surprising yet inevitable end. reading plays like this is really making me reconsider my stance against theatre and is pushing me to embrace...more
Christey Foster
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rainey
I read Marber's play a few days before the movie came out, wanting to have read the book prior to watching the film. I made the correct call. Marber's original version of the play- he also wrote the screenplay for the film- is darker, more twisted, and more viscious than the film. I loved the tart cynicism.
"Our flesh is ferocious/our bodies will kill us/ our bones will outlive us."
Heather
I've loved the movie for years, and so I love tihs play. I was more than a little surprised at how the ending of the play differs from the movie, and I have to say that in some way I love the ending of the play more because it means that the other three characters learned more than the characters do in the movie. Either way, this story is not only an examination of love and sex as the critics say it is, but also an examination of human nature and what assumptions we and others make based on lies...more
David Bloxham
While there were scenes that delved well in to the communications and relaitionships between characters, the majority of the play focused on exploring the surface level of relaitionships. For a play that is supposed to explore the variety of modern romance, I found the mentality of 'alternative relaitionships' was very basic.
Kate
As it is a play, the movie version with Clive Owen as Larry, Julia Roberts as Anna, Natalie Portman as Alice, and Jude Law as Dan is easier to follow. The dialogue has more punch when spoken. The movie is very loyal to the play, there are no changes except for the ending scene.
I love this because it's hard to watch. The characters are cruel to each other and manipulate each other, but it's so *real* that I fell in love with it. The dialogue is very frank and sexual, but also very real. There ar...more
Erin
I'm a big fan of Marber's early comedy work, but frankly am a little confused at all the acclaim this play has received. To be honest, I spent much of this read comparing the play to the film (which Marber also scripted), and thus will soon be giving it another read, but I just didn't find Closer all that compelling. It's sort of a more British sensibility to have unlikeable main characters (think Alan Partridge, whom Marber took part in creating), but about three-quarters of the way through Clo...more
Jason Loeffler
At times witty, at times heart-breaking, Closer is a play you can't seem to get away from. The reason, perhaps, is because you know these characters so well in real life, they simply drag you nearer into the story. Emotional-blackmailers these people may be, but they are, on some level, the people in your life you love the most. The hurts and back-stabbings you're willing to let slide because, despite yourself, you genuinely LIKE these appalling creatures: they're your parents or your friends, t...more
Samantha McLean
I really enjoyed reading this play. I read this whilst researching In-Yer-Face theatre (the style it is written in) and out of the 4 plays I read in the style, this was my favourite. It was very much emotion based and funny at times yet still in the In-Yer-Face theatre style, particularly with the shift in pace and conversation topic. I found it very refreshing since other plays I'd looked at in this style were more grotesque, making you think "what the hell did I just read?!", whereas this was...more
Andrea
I think I read this in record time. I don't usually read screen plays, because I never find the dialogue captivating enough to hold my attention. This was different. The dialogue here is excellent. Raw, at times brutal. I have been in an unhealthy relationship before, and so a lot of this was familiar and very relevant. Relationships can be brutal and unforgiving like this.

I guess you have to have a certain penchant for enjoying to read about unhealthy relationships to truly enjoy this. Luckily...more
Kathleen
This was just not at all something I needed to read. I think I got this super-cheap when all of the Borders bookstores were closing, because I can't think of why I would have bought this otherwise. Apparently it's what the film is based on? I never saw it.

Apparently this is of the very dated 90s-school of "Lookit me be EDGY!" theatre. I didn't mind it too much, but I don't know, it just wasn't something I needed to read. I didn't care about any of the characters.

I mean. If you like this kind o...more
Lindsay
I know that this play has received several criticisms for the dialogue "being phony" but as someone who has seen the movie I did not have a problem with it because I got to see how Marber intended the dialogue to be carried out between characters and I think it's wonderfully brilliant. I don't usually like to compare a book to it's movie version but for this play I couldn't help but read every scene line for line in the voices of the actors and in the imagery that the movie presented. I'm a big...more
Travis
Jan 06, 2011 Travis rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2005
I read this after having seen the film and was impressed at how close the film actually stuck to the play. Of the two main differences, I liked one better in the film and one better in the play. I like the play's ending a lot better than the film's, but I do like that the film allowed for some ambiguity as to what went on with Larry and Alice. Whether you've seen the film or not, this is an amazing story and I highly recommend both versions.
Sylwia
As a huge fan of the movie, I was thoroughly disappointed by this read. Even though the dialogue in the film is almost exactly the same as in the written play, the mediums provide a very different delivery and the message gets pleasantly muddled in the movie. Although the message is the same, the play/book seemed so much more simple to me. The characters seemed less realistic and more like archetypes rather than actual beings.
Amy
Much different and darker than the movie and much preferred. I guess Mike Nicols didn't want pretty people to die in the film version. Or be British if they couldn't do a convincing accent. It's a cruel view of modern love and the fluidity of emotions. The characters can be viewed as despicable if you want them to be. In truth, they're scared and selfish. I don't know what is better.
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Patrick Albert Crispin Marber is an English comedian, playwright, director, puppeteer, actor and screenwriter. After working for a few years as a stand-up comedian, Marber was a writer and cast member on the radio shows On the Hour and Knowing Me, Knowing You, and their television spinoffs The Day Today and Knowing Me, Knowing You... with Alan Partridge. Amongst other roles, Marber portrayed the h...more
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Notes on a Scandal: A Screenplay Plays 1: Closer / Dealer's Choice / After Miss Julie Dealer's Choice After Miss Julie Don Juan in Soho: After Molière

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“I love everything about you that hurts.” 30 likes
“That's the most stupid expression in the world. 'I fell in love'—as if you had no choice. There's a moment, there's always a moment; I can do this, I can give in to this or I can resist it. I don't know when your moment was but I bet there was one.” 26 likes
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