Besides sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, women on the screen as of late are often boxed into one-dimensional relationships with each other that consist of little more than annoying/getting back at each other in absurd ways. Consider, for example, the trend of the backstabbing women: women that backstab at school (Mean Girls), women that backstab on the job (13 Going on 30), women that backstab at weddings (Bride Wars)… basically, beware of woman, because according to the movie you just paid $12.50 to see on the big screen, she WILL stab you in the back when you aren’t looking. These movies often dismiss the behavior of their female characters as simply “what women do”, or attach a one-dimensional cautionary wag-of-the-finger to the tale, as if to say “watch out, girls at play!” While human behavior, including back-stabbing, is something everyone including women experience, modern movies rarely take the time out to explore why the women they portray on screen act the way that they do.
Chloe, the latest release from Sony Pictures Classics, is a suspenseful story focusing on a triangle of love and betrayal. When Catherine, a successful doctor (played by Julianne Moore), begins to question her husband David (Liam Neeson)’s fidelity, she hires the alluring young woman Chloe (played by Amanda Seyfried) to test–and tempt–her husband. As Chloe and David fall deeper into their web of sexual desire, Catherine falls with them. The result is a misunderstood journey that places her family in great danger.
Beautifully directed by Atom Egoyan over the course of 37 days in Toronto, Canada, Chloe paints an interesting take on the evolving nature of intimacy between women. Catherine and Chloe first meet under casual circumstances, developing a unique friendship based on their mutual interest in the lifestyle the other leads. Chloe, a young high-end prostitute, is intrigued by the seemingly glamorous family life that Catherine leads, while Catherine is inexplicably drawn to the carefree youth and sexuality that Chloe represents. Their relationship mirrors a mentor or mother/daughter one, especially for Chloe who envies the stablity that Catherine’s life seems to provide. As their relationship progresses, the tension between the two mounts, and the soon transition from casual interested parties to involved participants in each others lives. And as the sexual dimension is introduced (sexy Catherine and Chloe hook up? Maybe?), their relationship begins to tangle and involve jealousy on both ends.
Showing the evolving nature of intimacy through the lens of a female relationship is an interesting choice, especially because Egoyan gives the audience the opportunity to look at varying types of relationships that women have with each other. Instead of being pegged as “women gone wild”, Chloe attemps to get to the botton of WHY these women are going wild.
Someone put a call in to Joe Francis, his empire might just topple…
Catch Chloe in theaters now, and peep the trailer below!
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