Directed by Atom Egoyan
In Anne Fontaine's Nathalie, Fanny Ardant hires femme de la nuit Emmauelle Beart to seduce her midlife-aloof husband and report back on his turn-ons; erotic espionage leads to true-confessions monologue and femme fascination. Disappointingly, Fontaine's whispery fades-to-black felt more suited to a film with actual insight into eros than to Nathalie's boudoir fantasy for upper-middle-class swingers—but the remake is helmed by Atom Egoyan, whose should-be camp classic Where the Truth Lies revealed a weakness for portentous pseudointellectualizing of "sophisticated" softcore. And indeed: Chloe opens with a hazy, voyeuristic glimpse of sideboob. This is the kind of movie where the waitress at an after-the-recital dinner describes a wine as "intense, pure and deep."
Julianne Moore is a Toronto gynecologist first seen reassuring a virginal patient that an orgasm is simply "muscle contractions," while hubby Liam Neeson lecture-flirts with pliant undergrads; as the eponymous sexual double agent, Amanda Seyfried delivers girlishly avid-eyed Penthouse Forum reports. Unbackstoried Chloe is an agent of obsession, a single white female fatally attractive and attracted.
Chloe pantingly strives to impart profundity, too. Egoyan's characters gaze through plexiglass windows upon what they desire to possess or to be, as if observing specimens of exotica. (As they did in Exotica, his far less fatuous study of psychosexual orientalism.) Wistfully, computer screens are declared alienating alternatives to true, physical connection—in no movie this year will characters speak the word "touch" more frequently. There's lots of touching in Chloe, very sensual, meaningful touching.
Opens March 26