Chloe is a love story and one story inside another. The strength of this film is that the groundwork for a completely different story is built as another one takes place. It’s so subtle yet hints are immediately left for it once Catherine (Julianna Moore) and Chloe (Amanda Seyfried) first meet.
The viewer is pushed off kilter by a comment Chloe makes here and a comment she makes there, though disregarded as occasional flights of whimsical fancy, the viewers’ instinct may be more accurate than they give themselves credit for. Adolescence may play a part in the initial misunderstanding. When a one person likes another, they usually try to express that budding sensation in their belly. It was the same way in this movie. Long, lethargic eye stares, a certain closeness of proximity, the desire to always be around “that” person, the recipient of your secret affection. All are in the strata and on the surface of the celluloid of Chloe.
At the center of the film is infidelity, both of the literal and fanciful kind. The viewer is also shown how you can be in a committed relationship with someone, in their constant presence yet be far from them, not ships passing in night but be on casual indifference autopilot.
One of the best aspects of the film is that Catherine has an affair Chloe to somehow feel closer to her husband. The fascinating coincidence in the film is that Chloe does the same for the same reason with someone else very close to Catherine. The viewer may see it coming but never-the-less it is a well-scripted segment of the film.
The on-screen nudity is never gratuitous, which it very easily could have been. For this type of film it is almost a visual necessity and certain scenes require it. The nudity is used so that the characters are seen as sexual beings since that it is a very important component of their personalities and their lives.
One folly, albeit the beginning monologue delves into it to a small degree, is the psychology of Chloe, what makes her tick? The audience is never given her background, why she chose her profession, and who she is outside of it.
Those questions notwithstanding, one other question that lingers is whether or not David (Liam Nesson) actually had an affair with an attractive female student that asked him to a group dinner. He says he didn’t, that he had numerous chances with others. The girl approaching him on the street as he canceled on his wife and the picture text on his cell phone may have only been misdirection, directorial distraction perpetrated on the audience. If that was their true purpose and David is to be believed, it was a clever hoodwink.
The obsession, longing, what some would call stalking by Chloe – when Catherine calls Chloe and she is right there in the office – were memorable moments in the film. Most people – at some point in their life – have wanted to be with someone who has not reciprocated that sentiment. That is the underlying, true situation in Chloe, exposed in the film’s third act, bringing together all the dumped hints that preceded it.
Atom Egoyan’s Chloe is more than meets the eye or what the viewer believes they’ll receive from the film. If the third act had been a little more substantial, the film’s lasting impact would have been aggrandized but as it is now, it is a good film about infidelity, unrequited love, and seeing fault in others but not in ourselves before we act.